When Fletcher was born, his parents Angela and Aaron were faced with devastating news: Their son suffered from profound hearing loss. After the initial shock and grief, Fletcher’s mom and dad found hope when he was referred to the Boys Town National Research Hospital for cochlear implants, which is nationally renowned as a research and treatment center for hearing and communication disorders. When the implants were finally activated, and Fletcher could hear the world around him for the first time, the smile on his face was all they needed to see to understand how the implants would change his life.
Watch Fletcher's Story
Angela: They came and got him for his hearing test.
Aaron: The screening came through and they said that they had some problems. And I think the main problem that they were having was breaking the news to us of the screening tests come back and they say, "We're gonna refer you." And that's the first time I heard Boys Town outside of, you know, living in Omaha. You know, the hardest thing that any parent would face is somebody telling them that their child is anything but perfect, so this is a big moment and it's a lot to get past.
Angela: Shocked and devastated. I cried, I'll never forget it. I allowed myself a couple days to be sad, but then the way Aaron and I were, what do we gotta do? What do we gotta do? Where do we need to learn? Who do we talk to? I will never forget the first time I walked into the Lied Center and knew that that place was meant for where I needed to be. I needed to be there. I knew that that was… It was comforting, it was colorful, it was bright, it was cheery for us. And they knew everything we needed when we got there.
Aaron: The groundwork is definitely laid out for you and it's up to you to trust them. And the best thing we ever did was trust them. You know, you put the life of your child in their hands. And since we found out he was able to get cochlear implants, it was like, "Well, no kidding." It's like, if you need glasses, you get glasses, and if you need cochlear implants to hear, you do that. We decided to implant and he can decide later on whether he wants to use it or not. I'm not gonna not give him that decision.
So the first one was the staff. You know, your child's going in for a shot, you worry. This is a much, much bigger procedure than a shot. He bounced back quick. You know, I'm expecting all these drugs to come at us, you know, painkillers, and they said, Tylenol and he should be ready go in about 12 hours to a day, and he was. The second was much easier, but the first one was, you know, not a lot of sleep the night before.
Angela: Activation day was stressfully great and I was holding him and she was like, "Okay, it's going on." That was his first sound and you could tell that he wasn't sure what was going on, but he kinda liked it. Like, he kind of finally woke up to noise and it was amazing. I didn't cry and have that big reaction like you kinda see on YouTube, but for me and for us, it was perfect. It was exactly what our day needed to be like. And then we celebrated and that was really special.
Aaron played him Beethoven for the first time and then you could really see that he really lit up.
Aaron: They're world renowned. We were lucky enough to live…like, they live basically around the corner from us, but people move to Omaha to have them help.
Angela: It's amazing the staff there, what they do for people. I just wish I could hug all of them all the time. Like, thank you for giving us our son and his ability to hear.