Jenri will spend several more months in America as he works on his speech and learns to understand what he hear
A seven-year-old boy from Guatemala received the gift of hearing on Monday and was soon moved to tears after hearing his parents speak for the very first time via Skype.
Jenri Rivera, who was born deaf, was able to travel to America for
treatment thanks to the Ray of Hope Medical Missions, a not-for-profit group in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Three years ago Jenri had met Erin Van Oordt of Grand Rapids, Michigan, when was working in Guatemala as a volunteer.
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Jenri Rivera's parents in Guatemala were delighted to see him and to hear that his procedure had been a succes
‘There was something special about him from the beginning,’ Van Oordt.
‘I started talking to him, and he couldn't hear me. I knew my Spanish wasn't that bad, so I started asking around and they said he hasn't heard since he was little. I said we need to figure this out, and that's when we started the whole process.’
In order for Jenri to be eligible for a medical visa to get to the U.S., every part of the process had to be a donation including the $40,000 cochlear implant donated by Advanced Bionics and the procedure to install it, which was performed by Dr. Disher at the Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.
The implant was activated on Monday by Dr. Tina Sheehan of Focus Audiology and Hearing Services
Finally Jenri could hear and to test him, Dr. Sheehan smacked her hand on the table and watched as he reacted with surprise.
‘When I would tap on the desk, he would look,' Dr. Sheehan said.
'I tapped again, and he looked. I tapped a third time and he said, no! His reactions to the noises are an excellent sign that things are working.'
It was an extremely emotional moment for everyone as the young boy got to hear his parent's voices for the very first time.
Next, Jenri will spend several more months in America as he works on his speech and learns to understand what he hears.
With tears in her eyes, Erin Van Oordt told wane.com that she couldn't be happier with how things have worked out.
'I had a flashback to the first time I met him, when he couldn't hear me, and he could this time. Everything we've done in the past three years came flooding back. It was all worth it.'