In 2011 me and my husband were excited to welcome our second son into the world. As he was born and placed onto me I noticed his little ear and a large skin tag hanging from his cheek. The doctors and midwives could not tell me what had happened to Charlie or even give me a name for the condition. I went home that evening and resulted to googling it. Google confirmed that Charlie had Microtia.
We had never heard of Microtia so we searched for a lot of answers online until the doctors confirmed that Charlie had Microtia Atresia and Hemifacial Microsomia at about 1 month old. The doctors reasurred us that Charlie did not need a hearing aid as his big ear worked perfectly fine. We accepted this answer and agreed with them as we knew no different, we hadn’t even seen a hearing aid. Years later we found the group Microtia Mingle UK on Facebook and they have been amazing. Microtia UK have given Charlie, myself and our family answers to questions, guidance, advice and enabled us to meet others with Microtia too. At one of the Microtia events in London, Charlie (aged 5) was able to test out a BAHA for the first time. His face lit up as he told me and my husband that he could hear us in both ears! There was no doubt then that we would request a BAHA and give Charlie hearing in 2 ears! Charlie’s request quickly became a reality when he was given his BAHA on a headband. He loved the new sounds it gave him but disliked wearing the band. A year and a half after first receiving it, Charlie underwent an operation to have the attract option put in, like a magnet in his head so that he no longer had to wear the headband. This was the best decision we could have made – Charlie now loves wearing his hearing aid and he says it gives him better sound than wearing it on a band. After healing, Charlie went to the hospital to re-programme the BAHA and when we left he turned to me and said, “Mummy, the wind! I can hear the wind!” For Charlie, it was like having new hearing all over again. A moment I will never forget, I knew then that we had made the right decision.
Charlie, now aged 8, went on to be a model for Zebedee Modelling Agency. He had a casting for Cbeebies and has done a catwalk show. He has won competitons, taken part in testing toys for our local shopping centre and is very proud to help represent Microtia UK by speaking at events in front of upto 200 people. He will happily share his positive thoughts and feelings about his Microtia and is happy to talk to anyone. Charlie loves raising money for the charity and has currently raised over £3,200. He enjoys acting, dancing, singing, football, computers, gardening but most importantly, raising positive awareness in his every day life. He has a lot of friends and shines with confidence in all aspects of his work. Charlie proves that if you put your mind to it then anything is possible! Microtia does not stop you from doing anything. We now have another 4 boys total and Charlie is the only one with Microtia. He knows how super special he is!