On February 2017, long time volunteer Susan Brown passed away at 55 years of age. Two of Susan’s children were born with severe to profound hearing loss. She came across the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association – Newfoundland and Labrador (CHHA-NL) 15 years ago, while searching for a place where her children could socialize with other children who have hearing loss. Susan found this support with the CHHA-NL and compared it to “finding a family.”
Susan became the Chairperson for the CHHA-NL Families Resource Group. As a volunteer she worked with CHHA-NL staff to host social events for families and their children. The social events were opportunities for children to socialize and for parents to learn from each other. She was also heavily involved in the planning of CHHA-NL Annual Summer Camp for Families and was responsible for planning the parents’ sessions.
“Susan was a sweet lady. In the little time I knew her I can say she was determined and had a heart of gold”. – Lisa
She helped initiate CHHA-NL activities that promoted children becoming advocates and role models. As a Secretary at the Ears, Nose, Throat (ENT) Specialist clinic, she frequently encouraged families of children with hearing loss to contact CHHA-NL office for services and to meet other families.
Susan believed that knowledge was power. She believed that parents need to know all the services available for their child and how to access them within the education system. She also believed that parents need to teach their child at a young age how to communicate their hearing needs and to advocate for themselves.
Susan taught her children the value of volunteering and today they are proud, confident volunteers in their community. Her daughter is on the Board of Directors of CHHA-NL and her son is involved in Church Lads’ Brigade of NL and always willing to lend a hand at CHHA-NL events.
This week, we recognize Susan’s contribution to the CHHA-NL and the many lives she touched through her work with the Association. Some thoughts from members of the Families Resource Group.
“Susan was a member of our church and I have known who she was since I was a child. It was not until 2 of my children were diagnosed with hearing loss did she begin to play a very supportive and comforting role in our lives. It was her who invited us to attend the family CHHA-NL events. She encouraged us to get to the summer camps, which my children have loved. Susan was a comforting voice always saying things will be ok. When we were considering implants she was a supportive voice with real life experience and knowledge. Always open to a chat and I wish I had taken her up on the offer more often. One thing I remember her saying often was “There is nothing our kids cannot do, they may not be able to do it the conventional way but we can find our ways to do anything.” This has stayed with me every day. We have lost such a great confidant, advocate and giving soul. She will be missed by all of the families she gave comfort and advice to and she will be missed by all of the families yet to come into this community. It will take many of us parents to replace the family support Susan offered!” – Jane