First Responders Seek Donations for Deaf Navarre Girl

Posted on April 28, 2021 by Romi White

Kennedy pictured with her mom, Julie, a flight paramedic.

Local first responders are working to raise $15,000 for a hearing implant procedure for a deaf 7-year-old Navarre girl.

The Webster family is from Georgia but now living in Navarre. Recently an insurance company, after initial approval, sent an April 19 letter, denying funding for the May 7 procedure, stating it was “medically unnecessary” and leaving the family with little time to pursue an appeal and raise money to cover the cost.

Fortunately, the public safety community is rallying together to help the family, which includes Kennedy’s mom, Julie, a flight paramedic based in Marianna; her dad, Joel, a former police officer; and her “Daddy Ricky,” an EMS Lieutenant in Santa Rosa County.

Kennedy loves to help people and wants to be a doctor when she grows up. But her biggest wish right now is to be able to hear.

She was a 30-week preemie due to pregnancy complications and later spent a short time in the NICU then PICU due to a head injury. As time progressed, Kennedy’s speech began deteriorating, and she began failing hearing screenings.

Since then she has undergone multiple tests and referrals, leading up to a diagnosis of profound non-conductive right sided hearing loss. Her audiogram showed no activity, meaning complete deafness. Additionally, she was also diagnosed with progressive conductive hearing loss in her left ear. Following extensive imaging, it was determined that Kennedy’s loss of hearing is due to a congenital anomaly.

Her family says the devastation hit amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and that the mask mandate revealed just how difficult it was for Kennedy to communicate as she was no longer able to read lips effectively.

Kennedy can’t understand her friends or teachers at school. She cries and says she doesn’t understand why her hearing is going away. Although she is learning sign language, others don’t know how to use it.

So recently Kennedy made a wish upon a star that she would be able to hear.

After finding out she was a candidate for a bone-anchored hearing implant device, she told her mom that her wish had come true.

Following healing from the May 7 procedure, the implant is expected to be turned on in early June and provide her with nearly normal hearing.

Ricky Webster said the family appreciates any and all donations, which will be used to cover the costs of surgery and the device.