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January 15, 2004

Family appeals for help after hearing device stolen

From: The Star, Africa - Jan 15, 2004

Christie Greef (9) was born deaf after her mother contracted rubella during her pregnancy, but with the marvels of cochlear implants, she started to hear in 2000.

Now her hearing device, valued at R119 000, has been stolen and her parents are appealing for help to replace it.

"We did not take the device with us on holiday because we were going to a place where there is no electricity," said Christie's mother, Madelein Bosch.

"Just before we left I checked the batteries and saw that they were almost flat, and I knew I would not be able to charge them there, so we left it behind," said Bosch.

"We decided to rely on Christie's ability to lip read during the holiday."

When they returned home they realised that they had been burgled and that Christie's most prized possession was gone. "What is frustrating is that the people who took it do not need it and cannot use it.

"Now the device is probably just lying around somewhere because they threw it away when they realised they could not use it," said Bosch's husband, Pieter.

He said Christie's speech had been improving before this setback.

The University of Pretoria has lent her a similar device until the family can afford the latest equipment - the Esprit 3G - which is a "speech processor" worn at ear level.

This device costs around R54 000 and the Bosch family are trying their best to raise funds.

They are still some way from their target amount.

"Christie keeps on making improvements and we would love for her to have the new device so that she can continue to progress," her mother said.

Anyone willing to assist can make a donation to Standard Bank Hatfield, branch code:01-15-45-15; account number: 01-256-444-3; reference code: A5667. - Cindy Zeilhofer

©2004 The Star. All rights reserved.