Lodges donate to help a little boy hear his parents

When your child is sick, you will do anything to help them, but sometimes the difficulties are so overwhelming that it’s almost easier to lose hope. Then who can you turn to? Charlie and Maxine Dack found themselves in this unfortunate situation with their baby boy Harrison. 

Harrison was born with a virus called congenital cytomegalovirus or CMV. It is passed to the unborn baby through the mother’s placenta and can lead to serious health issues after birth. Harrison was unlucky to contract it before his birth. When he failed his initial hearing tests, the doctors got concerned and decided to run an MRI. Sadly, the scan revealed scaring to the white tissue on the brain. Harrison had severe hearing loss, almost complete in his right ear.

Distraught by this terrible news, Charlie and Maxine were searching for any solution. They discussed the possible options with the doctors and infectious disease specialists at London’s St Mary’s Hospital. They quickly realised that the best chance for Harrison to hear again was a cochlear implant. This is an electronic device placed inside the inner ear (the cochlea) to stimulate the auditory nerve. The implant has a magnet to which an external sound processor with a microphone attached. This passes the electronic impulse to the transmitter, activating some electrodes attached to the auditory nerve. Then the signal goes up to the brain as if it had been a sound. 

Hope was smiling on them until they were given the cost. The implant and surgery amounted to nearly £60,000. But as they were not eligible for such surgery through the NHS, they would need to go privately. It was a cost they could not afford.

The family was in shock. After learning there was a solution, it felt like the rug had been pulled from under their feet. What could they do? They were certainly not going to give up, but even asking friends and relatives was never going to be enough. And so, after discussing every option they could think of, Charlie and Maxine created a page on GoFundMe and organised various raffles with the help of local businesses. Their friends together with the whole community started giving. After so many weeks of anxiety, the generosity the family received was restoring hope. 

During a conversation at their local church about their fundraising activities, they encountered a new opportunity they had never imagined. As they talked about Harrison’s health issues, a friend named Douglas asked if they’d considered contacting their local Masonic Lodge. Quite an unexpected question for non-Mason Charlie. W Bro Douglas Sackey from the Old Palmetarians Lodge No 5632 brought this to his Brethren’s attention, who immediately voted to help as much as they could. Their generous donation was a surprise for the Dack family. They were very touched by the generosity of people they had not even met. Then another Brother came with further good news. W Bro Albert Harrison had taken their plea to the Capper Lodge No 1076 in London, who made an additional donation. 

The generosity of the two Lodges helped Charlie and Maxine reach their goal. They couldn’t believe it when the graph showed 100%. At last, Harrison would have a chance to hear their voices.

Harrison’s surgery took place on the 27th of February 2021, and the operation was a success. He then started the recovery period. He must wait several weeks for his inner ear to recover from the intrusion before the implant can be switched on. The processor was connected to the implant on the 25th of March. An intensive aftercare programme has started afterwards to achieve the optimal frequencies and pitches for Harrison. 

The family wishes to thank both Lodges for their generosity and support through a very difficult time.

This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 44 April 2021 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons – Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.

Read more articles in the Arena Issue 44.