Evie sets out on a journey that could change her life

OPERATION Evie Small's parents hope an operation will enable her to hear. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (121968-6380)
OPERATION Evie Small's parents hope an operation will enable her to hear. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (121968-6380)

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A MOTHER is on her way to Italy in the hope that what happens in the next few days changes her daughter’s life.

Emily Small knows that daughter Evie’s hearing is in the hands of Professor Vittorio Colletti, the world’s leading specialist in hearing implants.

Twenty-two-month-old Evie must have an operation to fit a tiny implant into her brain to give her the chance to hear and perhaps one day even speak.

It’s been an emotional journey for the family in the build-up to the £60,000 operation.

Mrs Small, a mother of five from Letcombe Place, Horndean, said: ‘There have been so many moments that have brought me close to tears, like having Evie’s beautiful curls cut off in preparation for her operation.

‘I wanted to keep them rather than have them swept up with medical waste and wanted to prepare the others for when she has her head shaved.

‘She still looks beautiful and still just as smiley.’

Evie has a condition called Goldenhar Syndrome which means she has no hearing, facial or balance nerves.

The implant operation has never been performed in the UK and, although doctors here considered carrying it out, it would have taken longer to arrange than the time Evie has left to have it.

The operation must be done before she is two for it to be a success, meaning it has been a race against time.

Only four babies are born in the UK with the condition each year.

Prof Colletti has carried out the operation more times than any other surgeon.

He believes he can not only give Evie hearing but also allow her to speak for the first time.

He agreed to carry out the operation and has given the family 18 months to raise the money to pay the bill.

The current fundraising total stands at £26,000 which Mrs Small, a solicitor, says has overwhelmed the family.

She said: ‘It has been an emotional week in the Small household.

‘We have been so completely overwhelmed by people’s kindness and the wonderful letters we have had in support of what we are doing.

‘The cheques have continued to arrive and the paypal donations.

‘Both David and I have been in tears at the kindness being shown to little Evie.’

To donate or find out more about the condition go to hopeforhearing.co.uk