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Grace's gift well received


While the war in Ukraine is far away and providing support may seem a task too difficult for many, Adelaide woman Grace Lam has found a way to do something tangible that has helped a young boy hear again.

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Grace Lam and her mum Monica.

Grace, who has Down Syndrome and significant visual and hearing impairments, heard of the plight of Max – a young Ukrainian boy who had been waiting for more than a year to get a hearing aid – through her involvement with the CWL Next Gen group.

Emmaus parishioner Maurice O’Connell, who is currently in Ukraine volunteering for aid organisation New Dawn, shared Max’s story with Next Gen which has been actively raising money to support those in Ukraine.

While the group was initially prepared to raise the $3600 to purchase the hearing aids for Max, Grace stepped in and said she was happy to donate two hearing aids that were surplus to her requirements.

“Two years ago, Grace’s hearing aids had to be changed to another model to meet her needs so the ‘older pair’ of hearing aids were used as a spare, in case her current ones got broken or malfunction,” her mother Monica Kwan explained.

“Grace and I discussed how we could help Max and she said she would be happy to give him her two spare pairs of hearing aids. She is very happy for Max and so glad she could help him.”

Monica said before they sent the hearing aids they contacted Grace’s audiologist and established that by using a software program, an audiologist in the Ukraine could adapt the devices to suit Max’s needs.

They then organised to send the hearing aids via DHL to the Ukraine, with Maurice coordinating logistics with Max’s family. Young Max was successfully fitted with one pair and it is hoped the second set can be used by another person in need in the Ukraine.

In thanking Grace for her kindness, Maurice described how Max and his mother were “over the moon” by the support they received from Australia.

“There are big highs and lows here and this was certainly one of the biggest highs,” Maurice wrote from Ukraine to the Next Gen group.

“It is a marvellous and inspiring thought that the efforts and generosity of people in far away Adelaide can have such an important and direct positive impact on a family so far away.”

In other exciting news, Grace, 22, is preparing to open a shop at Glenelg next month to showcase her artworks. Since finishing her schooling at Cabra Dominican College, she has been creating handmade cards and making candles that have been sold online. Her product range has since expanded to include earrings, journals and coasters.

In October, with the assistance of Monica, she will expand to have a shopfront presence through Grace’s Gallery and Gifts in Moseley Square. The shop will provide an avenue for both able and disabled artists to sell their work alongside Grace’s creations.

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