This is Eamon Doak, a bright, bubbly boy who has both hearing loss and vision impairment. The seven-year-old is one of Telethon 7’s Bright Little Stars. His story of resilience and fortitude will feature on this year’s Telethon weekend at the end of October.
Eamon and his brother Kaelan were both born profoundly deaf and when they were toddlers, both boys had cochlear implants fitted.
At five and three years old, the two brothers had genetic testing and the boys received a diagnosis of Ushers Syndrome type 1D (link opens in new window). It’s a rare condition that affects both hearing and vision with the gradual development of Retinitis Pigmentosa, which leads to vision loss.
In April, the two boys started receiving assistance from VisAbility’s Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Therapist Jodie Bruce.
“Both the boys will eventually lose their sight, so we’re giving them cane instruction and it’s good to start it early while they still have some sight,” Jodie explains.
We’ve decorated the canes, so they are more appealing. Eamon’s is orange and Kaelan’s one has many different colours. I’ve told them that these canes are helping them to become super heroes.Jodie Bruce, Orientation and Mobility Therapist
The family migrated to Australia some years ago. The Doak family has already had their far share of tragedy. The boys’ older sisters Alex and Madison, were killed in a plane crash in 2011.
Eamon and his TV debut
Eamon is popular at school and doesn’t consider himself any different to his classroom peers. He leads an active life and discovered he’d been selected to appear on Telethon 7 at a surprise school assembly.
“I was shy but excited,” he says.
His resilience and bubbly, quirky personality is a pleasure to witness. Jodie Bruce says both boys put a great deal of effort into their sessions. At the moment they’re tackling steps and stairs.
Parents Andrew and Bronwyn are proud of Eamon’s achievements and will be among the audience when the weekend of fundraising takes place.
The Telethon Live show raises money for children across WA. It takes place at the Burswood Crown Theatre on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th October. Eamon’s story will feature live.