CARACAS, Venezuela – Four-year-old Daniella Sophia Jackson was diagnosed with bilateral hearing loss about two years ago.
Without access to health insurance or government assistance in Venezuela, her parents, Keyla Bustamante and Daniel Jackson, fear she will never be able to hear a sound.
The young parents can't afford to pay for the cohlear implant, a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound, that she needs.
"I am worried about the dangers she faces," Bustamante said in Spanish. "A deaf child faces a lot of risks like if she takes off running and crosses the street."
The implant and the related expenses are estimated at about $40,000. In a GoFundMe page, Jackson wrote it breaks his heart when other children ask him why Daniella can't hear them. As of Wednesday afternoon, donors had contributed about $777 toward his goal.
"She hasn't been able to develop the use of language, a situation that makes our communication with her difficult," Jackson wrote.
Even more concerning is that the younger she is when she gets the implant the more positive the results will be, he said. She will need to undergo therapy to be able to develop the use of language.
The young parents have also used Instagram to document their struggle. A distant uncle, Felix Arellano, has a bank account in the U.S., and will get the donors money to them. The parents dream of raising enough money to travel to neighboring Colombia for the procedure.
Children like Daniella have found an ally in Juan Angel De Gouveia, who is an advocate for the disabled in Venezuela. He is also helping to raise awareness on her case and the lack of accessibility that he says children with disabilities have in Venezuela.
"We year for the day when Daniella can hear us and we can tell her that we love her," Jackson wrote.