CLIFTON FORGE, Va. (WFXR) — A young mother in Alleghany County is asking for the public’s help on behalf of her eight-month-old son, who was born deaf in both ears.
Manning James is just like any other baby. He loves playing with toys, watching cartoons, and even learning how to walk. But you may notice something different about him.
“He can’t hear. He doesn’t know when people are speaking with him in public. He can’t really read people’s expressions behind the masks, so it’s been difficult having him,” said Noelle Brantley, Manning’s mother.
At only five weeks old, Manning failed multiple hearing tests. He can only hear loud noises, but hopefully not for long.
For seven months, Noelle has prepared for her son to get cochlear implants, which is a decision family members support.
“It just really opens up a lot of doors for him and we’re hoping to give him that option because he can certainly learn sign language, but what this does, if it’s successful in both ear, he would be able to hear better than I can,” said Shannon Brantley, Manning’s grandfather.
The surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 30.
Just three weeks ago, Noelle says the family’s insurance company declined to cover any costs, due to the lack of proof that the hearing aids Manning currently has aren’t doing enough.
“I had talked to a member representative, probably two or three days before we got the letter, and he said ‘Yep, I’m looking at his chart. Everything is going to be 100%. You guys won’t own anything,'” Noelle said.
Since receiving the denial letter, Noelle has gotten to word out on social media in hopes of getting help to pay for the over $150,000 surgery. She also made an appeal against the insurance company’s decision.
“His surgeon has been a really big advocate for him, trying to convince the insurance company that this is something he needs and that he is a perfect candidate for,” said Noelle.
No matter the amount of money raised, the surgery will still go on, with family members by Manning’s side.
“He’s obviously a beautiful baby and a sweet child, and we just want to do the best for him,” Shannon said.
To donate, visit their GoFundMe page here.
CORRECTION: The web story previously mentioned that the family’s insurance company declined to cover costs regarding the lack of success of the surgery. In fact, the company declined to pay for the operation due to the lack of proof that Manning’s current hearing aids aren’t doing enough for his auditory skills.
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