Family of brave Evie Lake, seven, vow to learn Britain Sign Language as she declares she is ‘proud to be deaf’

Brave Evie Lake

Brave Evie Lake - Credit: Archant

Evie Lake is, in many ways, a typical seven year old. She is bright, happy and interested in lots of things.

Evie Lake

Evie Lake - Credit: Archant

She goes to school, loves spending time with her family and plays football with Felixstowe and Walton United.

What is a little unusual about Evie is that she is profoundly deaf. What is truly remarkable about Evie is that this is just the way she likes it.

The medical term for Evie’s condition is bilateral profound hearing loss.

When she was a baby, she was given implants, with the hope that these would enable her to at least have some hearing as she grew up.

Kim and Evie

Kim and Evie - Credit: Archant

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However, as Evie got older she refused to wear her implants.

Her Mum Kim sat her down and explained to her that, without the implants, she would not be able to hear or indeed communicate verbally in the same way that other children could.

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Evie’s response was remarkable.

She explained to her Mum that she “liked it quiet” and that she “did not want to hear”. What is more, she stated that she was “proud and brave to be deaf”.

Evie’s family took the decision to respect her wishes.

They felt that, without the implants, Evie should learn to talk with her hands, and hear with her eyes. Evie has proved to have a real flair for learning language in this way, and has subsequently thrived in every aspect of her life.

However, it is not just Evie who needs to be able to communicate in this way.

If she is to experience and enjoy life to the full, the people around her need to be able to talk and listen in the same fashion.

With this in mind, eleven members of Evie’s family have committed to learn British Sign Language on a course that begins in September. The course is not cheap, with each individual having to pay fees of over £300. What is more, there is no state support available to assist with these fees.

“It really shocked us,” Kim said. “If Evie’s disability affected her mobility there would be several sources of funding available to help us meet her needs. It seems that her condition is ‘invisible’ in more ways than one”.

In order to meet the cost of the course, Kim and her family have decided to organise a Family Funday Fete.

This event will take place at Felixstowe and Walton United’s Goldstar Ground in Dellwood Avenue on Sunday 13 September at 1pm.

Kim is incredibly enthusiastic about the event and hopes that as many people as possible can attend.

“We plan to have all kinds of attractions,” she said. “A bouncy castle, five-a-side football competition and a stage with performances by local bands.

“There will also be traditional stalls, such as ‘name the teddy’ and ‘catch the ducks’ and a raffle with prizes including a Fred Olsen holiday voucher.

“We are also inviting local business to set up stalls – on the condition that they contribute a percentage of their takings to Evie’s fund!

Evie herself has offered to teach people the basics of sign language as part of the event”.

With such community support, Kim is confident that enough money will be raised to support the family in their course. The plan is that any excess money raised will be donated to the National Deaf Children’s Society, to support other families in the same position.

Kim is at pains to point out that raising awareness is just as important as raising money. “There seems to be a lack of information and help provided for deaf people and their families.

“This seems to be the case both nationally and within our community. If our event can do something to address this – even just a little – then it will have been a real success”.

Evie is a vibrant, outgoing little girl, who has learnt not to let anything stand in her way.

She has taught herself to lip read and is now able to relay words verbally in a way that is almost pitch perfect.

Kim hopes that this event will give her an even better chance of fulfilling her potential.

Businesses and organisations interested in participating on Sunday can contact Kim on 07891 977018.

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