The Big Giveaway

€50,000 Giveaway

We gifted hearing last Christmas, and rewarded kindness.

Competition is now closed

In 2020 when we invited people to submit nominations for the #giftofhearing, we had no idea how this experience would touch our hearts. We received many accounts of selfless individuals who placed the needs of others ahead of their own. These people sacrificed luxuries, personal time and hearing health to ensure their families were cared for and did not go without. It is our privilege to help these people through the #giftofhearing by giving back to those who give so much.

Here are the winners:

Brenda Billington

2020 was a busy year for hospital workers, who braved the frontline to make sure vulnerable people received the vital care they needed during a most challenging time. Midwife Brenda Billington is one of our healthcare heroes. Putting aside concerns for her personal safety, Brenda continued working at the Rotunda Hospital during the lockdown, helping countless young couples to bring new life to the world. This selfless woman was, and continues to be, an amazing support and comfort to worried parents, colleagues, and everyone she encounters. One would be forgiven for thinking that Brenda’s sunny disposition denotes a carefree life. Truth be told, the last year has brought ill health to Brenda’s parents and parents in laws and placed considerable stress on her family. She’s juggled her career, family life and caring for her elders, and takes it all in her stride. She gives so much of herself to everyone, that there’s not time for self-care. Brenda’s husband, Kevin, wrote to us, explaining that she suffered hearing loss following a diving accident and her hearing ability is deteriorating. He asked us if we would consider her for the gift of hearing because she “hasn’t had the time to pursue treatment”.

Kevin told us “I just want to thank my beautiful wife Brenda” for “helping others and her huge part in helping me through our challenges this year”. We were delighted to oblige and we hope that Brenda’s new hearing aids will help her to hear the most beautiful sound that life has to give – the cry of a new-born baby.

Patrick Lardner

We are delighted to give Patrick the #GiftOfHearing. Patrick J Lardner, a hardworking, selfless dad, has always put his family first. Having struggled with hearing loss for more than 20 years, he prioritised his children's needs above his own. In retirement, he lives a simple life, devoid of the comforts and trappings of wealth and the luxury of sound. When Patrick's daughter Sinead asked us to consider her amazing dad for the #GiftOfHearing, we were delighted to oblige. It is our absolute pleasure to gift Patrick state-of-the-art hearing aids in recognition of the many sacrifices he's made in life. He is a true hero to his children, and we hope these new hearing aids will help him hear their heartfelt voices of appreciation. We wish Patrick and his family health and happiness and would like to thank Sinead for sharing her dad's story with us.

Liam Hayden

Deirdre Whelan nominated her father, Liam, for the #giftofhearing. Liam, who is 88, has overcome some serious health issues, including a stroke and triple by-pass, and he’s had a pacemaker installed. Despite health challenges, Liam is the sole carer of his wife, Margaret. He cooks, cleans, shops and washes, and cooks three meals a day for his beloved wife.
His children make daily zoom calls to check in on their parents; however, Liam's struggling to hear their voices. He’s also having trouble hearing the TV and Radio and the voice of Luke O’Neil, who Deirdre describes as “his new best friend.”
To compound matters, Liam has macular degeneration, which threatens his vision, and requires frequent eye-injections. As his vision is deteriorating, his ability to hear is more important than ever. This brave and resilient man is genuinely deserving of our help and the #giftofhearing. Liam is now wearing new state-of-the-art hearing aids, and we hope they will help him to connect with his family, hear his favourite TV programmes and listen to the voice of his new best friend.

Yvonne Heather Johnston

The phone has become a lifeline for many older people during the pandemic, especially those who live alone. Charlotte Pollock contacted Hidden Hearing to ask if we could help her partners' mother, Yvonne, who lives alone and struggles to hear. Yvonne wears hearing aids; however, they're old and are not working very well. Charlotte explained that new hearing aids would make an enormous difference to Yvonne's world, helping her to hear her family when they call to check up on her and enabling her to talk to her granddaughter, who she misses most of all. How could we refuse? We were delighted to give Yvonne the #giftofhearing, and we're glad to report that since being fitted with new free state-of-the-art hearings aids, Yvonne is never off the phone!

Joan Stundon

Meet Joan, one of our #Giveback recipients! At 62 years of age, Joan Stundon has experienced more suffering than most. She lost her sense of smell and hearing following a brain bleed, necessitating a 7-day stay in a hospital ICU. She’s battled cancer twice and won, and chronic osteoporosis affects her bone strength and stability. Despite these challenges, Joan cares for her husband, who has a disability, her brother, who is wheelchair-bound, and her 5-year-old grandchild. Faced with hardship, many of us turn to alcohol, tobacco, chocolate and other vices for consolation – but not Joan. She’s made significant lifestyle changes for improved health to ensure she can continue to care for her family. She’s quit her 40-a-day smoking habit and lost an incredible 5-stone. Joan misses the everyday sounds we take for granted and can’t afford to buy hearing aids. When her son Jeffrey told us about his mum and asked for our help, we felt compelled to oblige. It’s a pleasure to give the #giftofhearing to this remarkable lady, who spends her life caring for others.

Kris Byrne

Kris, a young adult with lifelong hearing loss, lives in assisted accommodation and attends a special needs school. He is reliant on hearing aids. His parents, who are both ill themselves, could not afford to replace them when they broke. Unable to communicate with family and friends, and struggling in his living environment, covid-related travel restrictions and school closures further compounded Kris’s sense of isolation. Rose Multaney, a senior audiologist at the Portlaoise Hidden hearing Clinic, recognised Kris’s challenges. Knowing that he would have a long wait for HSE Services, she recommended him for the #GiftOfHearing.We are delighted to provide Kris with free state-of-the-art hearing aids, and we hope that these new hearing aids will help him keep in touch with his parents, family and friends.

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