Manny Wilke, born without ears

Our son, Emmanuel ("Manny"), was born with a rare birth defect in that he was literally born with no ears nor open ear canals, making him legally deaf. At 3 weeks old he had a hearing test done which showed us that he had the ability to hear well with a bone conduction hearing aid. Much to our surprise, the hearing aid(s) weren't covered and we had 30 days to come up with $5000 and later found out that he needed two hearing aids for his bilateral hearing loss.

Manny is now almost two and hearing tests continue to show that he can hear almost perfectly with his hearing aids, yet hears almost nothing without. He is starting to say words and verbally communicate, only because he can hear with his hearing aids. Every child should have the ability to hear, and these little medical devices ("medical miracles" as I'd like to call them) should be covered by insurance, and these insurance paying parents should have a choice and ability to aid their children!

We've met many wonderful people during the legislative process and we are ready to tackle next session and get this bill passed. There are many struggling families and children out there - and they need help. These deaf and hard of hearing children have been discriminated against long enough. A huge thank you to those supportive legislators.

Tiffany Wilke, Beaver Dam, tiffany.wilke@sbcglobal.net