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Leaving a legacy

Belinda, a longstanding supporter and ambassador of the Bionics Institute shares how receiving a cochlear implant enabled her son Simon to achieve his dreams of becoming a pilot.

The research of the Institute changed our lives, and I hope that by leaving a gift in my Will, then even when I’m gone, I can leave a legacy to help change someone else’s life for the better.

“Simon received a cochlear implant when he was only three, after contracting a severe form of meningitis and becoming profoundly deaf in both ears,” Belinda explains.

Tests showed that there was unfortunately no chance of Simon’s hearing regenerating and as Simon became so profoundly deaf, hearing aids were not an option, making his future initially look very uncertain. 

However, the cochlear implant developed by the Bionics Institute provided another chance for Simon to hear, and after just three months he received a cochlear implant in one ear, as was most common at the time.

Simon was able to attend rehabilitation in Sydney where alongside the clinical team, Belinda and his family undertook a huge effort to help him adjust as quickly as possible to his new hearing and ensure he didn’t fall behind with language development.

“He adapted really, really quickly, finishing all of the rehab in just a few weeks and fully adapting to hearing in just one ear”, she says with pride.

“Thanks to receiving a cochlear implant, Simon has been able to attend a mainstream school and university and has gone on to achieve his dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot. He is, to the best of our knowledge, the first implant recipient in Australia and possibly in the world with a cochlear to become a commercial pilot working for a major airline, something we are incredibly proud of”, Belinda explains.

“We can’t thank the Institute enough for their hard work in creating the opportunity for Simon to have this device and lead the life he does. It’s transformed our lives. Not just Simon, but all of us as a family.”

Although her initial motivation for supporting the Bionics Institute stemmed from gratitude for what the research made possible for Simon, Belinda has kept up to date with the many innovative advancements being made by the Institute over the years and wanted to continue her support through a gift in Will.

“It’s just so incredible to see all of the incredible devices and treatments the teams are developing.

“Having personally experienced the power of that research and what it has done for us, leaving a gift in my Will is a way for me to consolidate my gratitude. It has given me the comfort of feeling that I am giving back.”

“It’s a nice feeling to think that even when I’m no longer here, I am helping something continue that other people are going to benefit from, just like Simon.”