To celebrate her 50th birthday on 30th September 2020, Cynthia McLarty decided to commemorate this milestone by raising funds for the Bionics Institute's infant hearing research program. Cynthia’s original goal was to run 50 kilometres from her home to Mornington, however due to COVID-19 stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, Cynthia ran the distance over two days in a circuit that kept her within 5 kilometres of her home.

This is a fantastic effort from Cynthia, and all of us at the Bionics Institute are very grateful. Cynthia's son Sam was born profoundly deaf and at fourteen months of age was one of the youngest children in Victoria to receive a cochlear implant.  Cynthia is a long-time supporter of the Bionics Institute and has volunteered her time as an ambassador.

After Sam’s diagnosis at nine-months old, Cynthia and her husband Deane spent a huge amount of time and energy researching cochlear implants. At the time they worried and wondered if they were making the right decision. “Sam caught up with other kids and was speaking normally by the age of four with the help of his cochlear implant,” said Cynthia.  “We tell other parents that we don’t regret it – it was the best thing for Sam. We are so grateful to the Bionics Institute for enabling Sam to talk and live a full, normal life.”

“We are incredibly fortunate to have Cynthia as an ambassador and supporter. We are humbled by her commitment to raise funds for our infant hearing research program. The funds Cynthia has raised will assist us in the development of our new clinical system, EarGenie™, designed to ensure a future in which all hearing impaired infants will maximise their opportunity for normal language and brain development.”

- Prof Colette McKay, Infant Hearing Program Leader