Santa's helpers bless Round Rock girl with sense of sound

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by MORGAN CHESKY / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OSLEN

kvue.com

Posted on December 19, 2012 at 11:23 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 20 at 9:40 AM

ROUND ROCK -- At the Espinoza household, the favorite holiday isn't exactly a secret. The wreaths, stockings and lights give it away.

For seven-year-old Gabby, Christmas even came a bit early with a litter of Chihuahua pups. As for any other gifts, the Espinoza's aren't planning on much.

"It's been a rough year," said Sebastiana Espinoza. "My husband had surgery last year so we used up all our savings."

Then there's Gabby.

"Since her birth she's had like eleven surgeries all put together," said her mother.

They've treated heart defects, breathing problems, almost everything but her left ear remains nearly deaf since birth.

A hearing aid helped until a few months ago when Gabby said it disappeared.

"It's very hard for me," Gabby said. "Without it I have to ask twice what people say."

Out of money, the Espinoza's put their hope on an application for Williamson County's Brown Santa program.

"We got this one that came in with a request for a hearing aid," said Captain Mike Gleason, who said the Christmas list just one item long was one he couldn't ignore.

"We said a hearing aid that's going to be hard to find. A family that wants to do footballs and barbie dolls they don't have $5,000 for the cost of one of these hearing aids."

Too much for Brown Santa, Gleason called audiologist Fred Boudreaux with the request.

"Our answer here is absolutely," said Boudreaux. "When it comes to kids, that's our future. So we bend over backwards for kids."

New Sound Hearing Center agreed to a brand new hearing aid for Gabby, free of charge.

"If we can help them connect with the people they care about, it brings a smile to us."

At the Espinoza house, the news brought a few smiles too.

"This was something I just didn't even anticipate or expect," said Sebastiana. "It's just a blessing."

A chance at saving Christmas for a family whose focus is the seven-year-old with a big smile.

Gabby won't have her new hearing aid by Christmas, but close enough. Her visit to get fitted is scheduled for just two days later.

Even better, she's not the only one getting Christmas back. Brown Santa delivered gifts for every family member, including a gift card to pay for Christmas dinner.

 

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