11 year old receives the gift of sound for Christmas

By KBJR News 1

December 27, 2013 Updated Dec 27, 2013 at 10:54 PM CDT

Duluth, Minn (NNCNOW.com) -- There are many things Cherie Marciniak loves to do, like hanging out with her best friend Bailie and listening to music.

Cherie says she likes likes listening to Justin Bieber, but didn't want to talk about it.

However, for a girl who is deaf, listening to music can be a challenge.

"She loves music so that was missing as well which for her was terribly upsetting," said Katie Marciniak.

Monica Marciniak adopted Cherie from Thailand in 2007 when she was five years old. Cherie was born prematurely weighing only two pounds. She spent nine months in the hospital in Thailand without a family and due to over medication she lost her hearing.

"When she came here she had no language at all. When I was signing with her in the hotel the very first day she signed I was her mom after me just signing it over and over again; and by the end of that evening she was probably signing 20 signs. She was just hungry for language." said Monica.

Giving Cherie language was the most important thing for Monica, who also utilizes a cochlear implant and wanted to give Cherie the same option.

"I felt that this would be a good tool for her and she really liked it. If she wouldn't have liked it I wouldn't have pushed," said Monica.

Cherie had the surgery for the device after she came to the states in 2007 but in 2011 her cochlear implant broke.

"We did see her start to struggle and be very aware and be very sad about it and she came to us this past summer and said, 'can you please fix my implant, can you please get me a new one?" said Katie.

That left the Marciniaks wondering how they would afford a new device until family friend, Jeff DeYoung, stepped in to help.

"Watching the two girls play and get together and everything else; I started thinking, what can I do to help out here?" said DeYoung. His daughter Bailie and Cherie are best friends.

DeYoung organized a fundraiser in October to help the Marciniaks get the money they needed to buy Cherie a new implant.

"There was such an overwhelming support for this benefit that everything just kind of fell in place," said DeYoung.

They ended up raising $11,000, enough money to get Cherie a brand new state of the art cochlear implant which cost $9,000.

"People say there is no such thing has a free gift, but what this family did was a free gift," said Monica.

The device requires that it be tuned properly to fit the person's hearing, so the Marciniaks went to the audiologist on Christmas Eve to get it fit.
Cherie can now hear the sounds the world around her makes once again, including the music she loves.

"After this appointment I'm going to listen to it in the car, and when I get home, in my room," said Cherie.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.