26 February, 2021
National fundraiser is supporting children with hearing loss
STUDENTS spread cheer to support a young local with her ongoing battle with deafness, and in doing so, got to see the world’s loudest shirt.
The town of Aramac was the runner-up in Queensland’s Loudest Town 2020 competition and the award was presented to Emily Geltch.
She received the award at the School of Distance Education in Longreach on Tuesday, and was also given a framed Loud Shirt signed by Rugby League Superstar Wally Lewis.
Hear and Say, a not-for-profit organisation, encourages Queenslander communities to don their loudest and brightest shirts to show support for hearing-impaired children like Emily.
Jim Green, Senior Fundraising Officer at Hear and Say said that if children are diagnosed early and their brains are opened to sound through digital technologies (Hearing aids and cochlear implants) then children can be taught to listen and speak through early intervention.
“We live in an age where if these things come together then children with hearing loss can grow up to have near-perfect access to sound and speech.”
Emily’s family signed up to try and make Aramac Queensland's loudest town and mobilise their entire community to get together.
Aramac, a community of 299 people, came runner-up in the competition and raised over $17,000.
Emily’s family mobilised their community to get together for the cause.
They made ‘Loud shirts’ and sold them to the community, hosted sausage sizzles, and created an online fundraising page.
Mr Green spoke of how Emily is such a remarkable young girl who because of Hear and Say has “amazing speech” and has access to education and learning.
“I’ve run out of words to describe it, what Aramac did, it was incredible,” he said.
“What I love about The Loudest Town fundraiser is that it not only benefits children everywhere, but it also takes a young girl like Emily and puts them on a pedestal for who she is and what she has achieved.
“The whole community celebrates and it's just phenomenal to be a part of and to see it happen.”
Emily’s mother and Loud Shirt Day ambassador, Kerryn Elliott, said Aramac’s inaugural event last year was a tremendous success for Hear and Say and for her daughter.
“It is amazing, these small rural communities really come together when someone has a problem or needs help,” she said.
“Ever since Emily was born with a hearing loss, we have had such amazing support from our community of Aramac.
“I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Hear and Say for their amazing support to Emily and to our whole family.
“Living rurally with a child who has a disability can be quite daunting and challenging but the support from the community and Hear and Say has made life a lot easier, and because of Hear and Say many more young children will have the opportunity for a better future.”