Meet Theo one of Cochlear Foundation’s National Ambassadors

Participation at the Achieve Anything Global Summit was another opportunity for Theo to help others

Want to change the world but need help figuring out how? Cochlear implant recipient Theo, shows how it’s done.

At the age of 15, he’s already displayed years of passion for advocating for others and proving that hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you back.

That’s why he’s one of five National Ambassadors for Cochlear Foundation’s Achieve Anything program, who were invited from around the world to attend the Achieve Anything: Global Summit in London in May.

The summit was the culmination of a campaign that started in September 2021: the Achieve Anything program to raise awareness about the barriers keeping millions of children and young people with hearing loss from accessing a quality education. As part of this, we invited children and young people with hearing loss to share their stories – shining a light on their experiences.

Local stories – a global issue

The response was amazing. Cochlear Foundation was blown away by 150 stories from children and young people from 35 countries worldwide, including Australia, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Kazakhstan and more. Reviewing the submissions was a rewarding task; these incredible young people have exceeded expectations, helping to inspire other children and young adults with hearing loss. Collectively, they are a shining example that hearing loss should be no obstacle to achievement.

Eventually, five young people from around the world were selected as ambassadors, based on how they’ve exceeded expectations in overcoming boundaries or barriers for where they live and their influence in inspiring other children with hearing loss.

These National Ambassadors, including Theo from Miami in Florida, were announced to coincide with World Hearing Day on 3 March. Did you read about them in our social media stories around that time?

What makes a National Ambassador?

Even at age 15, Theo has an impressive list of accomplishments. In February 2022, he was invited to lobby the Florida state government to support education and services for children with hearing impairment.

An active community member, Theo volunteers for numerous advocacy initiatives. When he’s not actively supporting children with hearing loss, he achieves top grades, competes in a wide range of sports (from swimming and lacrosse to soccer and basketball) and travels with his school debate team.

Theo enjoys sports alongside his academic and advocacy achievements

This success didn’t come easy. Theo received his first implant when he was nine but has lived with moderate hearing loss since he was two.  He credits therapy and hearing aids for successfully developing listening and spoken language skills.

“My hearing loss has been progressive and, in June 2016, I became profoundly deaf and underwent surgery for my first cochlear implant… The surgery was a huge success and completely changed my life, so I decided to have my second implant in January 2018,” Theo says.

“Even at my young age, I have accomplished many of the goals I have set for myself… I have also become living proof that a significant disability is not an obstacle for a great education and bright future when the right support and opportunities are provided,” he adds. 

“As demonstrated by my involvement in advocacy, I wish for the same opportunities for other children with hearing loss.

“I can’t wait to share my story and use my voice in a greater way than I ever imagined as a National Ambassador of the Cochlear Foundation Achieve anything program.”

A trip to London!

As the National Ambassador for North America, Theo was invited to go to the Cochlear Foundation Achieve Anything: Global Summit in London. The summit’s goal was to bring together the collective voices of the National Ambassadors to raise awareness of barriers keeping millions of young people with hearing loss from accessing quality education, hearing healthcare and support.

In London, the National Ambassadors had the opportunity to meet leaders and influencers with hearing loss and learn from each other. This was an important chance for them to work together and identify opportunities to grow more awareness for hearing health detection and access to treatment and the right to an education for the millions of children and young people with hearing loss.

We are sure this won’t be the last we hear of Theo and the other inspiring young people who are already achieving great things. If you want to keep up with the latest updates about the Achieve anything program, you can look on the website:

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