Evie Lake has a goal to inspire other deaf children
- Credit: Archant
Despite being profoundly deaf, Evie Lake is determined to be a winner in life – and is already an inspiration to everyone who knows her.
Her great passion is sport, especially football – and she loves playing for the Felixstowe and Walton United under-eight girls.
Her coach Adam Langford, 22, even took it upon himself to learn sign language so he could communicate much better with Evie – who started learning sign language when she was one – to help with her training and to improve her game.
Her family know the importance of sign language not just for themselves to be able to communicate with Evie, but have now launched a charity called Evie’s Voice to raise money to help other deaf children and their families.
Evie’s mum, Kim Rodger, 26, said her eight-year-old daughter had already faced tough challenges in her life and knows there are more to come.
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She was born profoundly deaf due to inheriting the gene Connexin26, despite neither of her parents’ families having a history of deafness, and at just 10 days old was admitted to hospital with meningitis, which left her close to death.
At 13 months old, Evie was bilaterally implanted with cochlear implants – a device which was inserted into her head via surgery to enable her to hear with an external processor. However, she never took to it so Evie started learning British Sign Language (BSL) and has excelled ever since.
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Kim said: “When Evie was at an age where I was able to sit her down and explain to her, I told her that without the implants she would not be able to hear or talk the same as other people, but instead she could talk with her hands and hear with her eyes, and she was happy with this.
“Evie told me she ‘liked it quiet’ and ‘she did not want to hear’ and is ‘proud and brave to be deaf’. I took this on board and have fully supported Evie’s decision and ever since she has thrived in all aspects of her life.
“She is an absolute inspiration to myself, the family and anyone that she comes across.
“She is a vibrant, outgoing little girl, and she does not let anything stand in her way.
“She is so sensitive to the vibration of sound, she has taught herself to lip read and now relays words verbally that almost sound pitch perfect. She will always have her point understood, even if the person she is communicating with does not understand BSL.”
When she plays for Felixstowe and Walton Utd she mixes with hearing children. This has been a struggle at times, but mainly due to communication problems.
Kim said: “Evie’s coach has taken it upon himself to do an intensive course of BSL to be able to speak to Evie.
“Funding was denied to provide an interpreter or to put him through a course to be able to speak to Evie, in order for her to achieve her best potential, but thankfully her kindhearted coach paid for this himself.”
Evie, who has a two-year-old little sister, Lila Robinson, may have to attend a boarding school for the deaf once she reaches high school age.
Kim said: “Evie is not keen on attending a boarding school, but for a bright little girl with no additional needs, it is essential she gets the best education she can to be able to lead her to a successful and fulfilling future.”
Evie’s Voice – “I hear with my eyes and speak with my hands” – is the charity launched by her family to help others suffering the same problems.
On Sunday, from noon to 5pm the charity is holding a family fun day at Trimley Sports and Social Club, High Road, Trimley St Martin.
Attractions will include stalls, live music, donkey rides, birds of prey display, bouncy castle, food, Town 102, and various entertainment.
Funds from the day will go to the charity’s work to help families with deaf children to learn sign language.
It also aims to help families to meet once or twice a year for an annual weekend away to foster friendships between children using sign language.
Evie’s mum Kim said: “This also creates an emotional support group for the families, so they are able to discuss their coping strategies, release their emotions and confide in someone who understands them.
“Making a difference in this day and age requires action. A small team has been put together to begin to have a voice ‘heard’ for those that are deaf and to start to tackle discrimination that is clearly still present against the deaf culture.”
The charity was born following a similar fun day last year when £4,000 was raised which enabled 17 family and friends to start learning sign language.
The charity, which also raised £2,000 from a Valentine’s Ball, has also helped Evie’s father Scott Lake, 26, and her stepfather Jamie Robinson, 23, to be able to learn BSL to be able to communicate with her