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We are the Poltorakins

Egor Poltorakin 4

and we live in Berdychiv in the Zhytomyr region. Four years ago we couldn’t be happier when our long-expected son, little Yegor, was born.

From infancy our son developed fast, gained in height and weight, learned to hold his head, and with one year of age he was already walking. At 1.5 years old Yegor spoke few but distinct words: ‘mama’, ‘am’, ‘come’.

But when our son was two, we suddenly noticed he did not respond to sound. In the ENT Institute in Kiev we had an audiogram made and were given a computer examination. We were told that his hearing was within the normal range, that it must be speech delay that a speech therapist should help with. Back home the very next day, we saw the expert, who advised that we send our son to nursery to give him more exposure to speech. However, as we saw no progress from that, we decided to go for diagnostics once again. And only then, after a thorough examination, we were given the sad news that Yegor suffered from bilateral sensorineural deafness and speech delay. Every passing day only made the problem worse.

From the age of two Yegor visited a general kindergarten, where he behaved like the inquisitive and intelligent boy that heEgor Poltorakin 5 was; getting along well with other children and impressing teachers with his determination. However, soon we changed from this kindergarten to one for hard of hearing and deaf children. We used hearing aids, but they were of very little help. Our only hope lay in cochlear implantation – without it, Yegor could not hear, and so would never learn to speak. However, time was running short, as Yegor was already almost four years old, and the best age for CI is between 2 and 4. We promptly applied for the state cochlear implantation program, and were put into the waiting queue under number 82. Unluckily for us, the program had run out of implants, and state funding had been stopped. We asked distributor companies for a quotation on the implant system, and the bill came to UAH 609000. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the money, so we turned to charities, but the only thing they could do was commiserate. We also applied to the Ministry of Healthcare, where we were told that the program was still running de jure, but in fact there was no financial backing to it, and it was unclear when more implants would be available.

Egor Poltorakin 2

We went about collecting money, all the time dreaming, like all parents do, of a full life for our son where he could hear the tender voice of his mother and learn to talk. But there is still much goodness in the world: the family Batyr, parents of a little girl with a condition like Yegor’s, gave us the contact details of Anastasiia Flanagan, who is a Consultant for Cochlear and translator for Dr. Monika Lehnhardt. She advised that we turn to the Ernst Lehnhardt Foundation, and Director Monika Lehnhardt immediately set out to help us.

We were told that the Foundation was running a charity program – and we were offered a Cochlear Freedom sound processor for free!!! Apart from this support, they gave us a lot of help psychologically by explaining that it wasn’t so bad, that if we got a CI on time and had therapy with our son, he would learn to hear and also speak well. This charity project, which is implemented by the Foundation with support from Cochlear and private donations, gave us the free processor and enabled us to buy a cochlear implant at a discounted price. Anastasiia transferred it directly into the hands of surgeon Dr., Prof. Oleg Borysenko, who then performed the surgery – implantation of a cochlear implant – on November 11th 2015.

In another month, the team of Monika Lehnhardt, supported by Dmitry Zayika, sent our sound processor to the office of the company VABOS in Kyiv, Berlinskoho Str. 9. On December 7th Yegor had his switch-on!Egor Poltorakin 1

Our son was so surprised in that first instant that he heard sound! He couldn’t understand what was happening. Today is the third day we are wearing our processor, and I am overwhelmed with joy when Yegor runs up to me asking to put back the coil that had fallen off the implant, pleading with his eyes ‘Mommy, I want to hear the world!’

All the Poltorakin family would like to express our immense thankfulness to Monika Lehnhardt, Anastasiia Flanagan, Dmitry Zayika, the families Batyr, Vakar and Ivanyshynets and all the people and organizations that supported us with money and with their hearts, and made it possible for the most important thing to happen – NOW YEGOR CAN HEAR THE WORLD!

We thank you and we wish you and your dearest ones good health and happiness.