Written by: Bella Pelletiere
On most days, you can find McKenzi Deal dancing and cheering. McKenzi took up dance lessons at a young age, and ever since it was an absolute favorite activity for her. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“Honestly, the hardest part of Covid has been the masks. We definitely only use our Rafi Nova Smile Masks around Kenzi,” says Meagan and Brandon Deal, McKenzi’s parents. “The problem is when she’s around people who don’t wear a clear mask. She relies on lip reading even with her Cochlear Implant.”
McKenzi Deal wore hearing aids for about 3 years before waking up completely deaf.
“We never really thought to talk about it (unless someone asked) or spread hearing loss awareness until that morning. When she lost all of her hearing we suddenly felt very alone and unsure what to do in certain situations that came with her being deaf, it was very different than just having a small amount of hearing loss,” says McKenzi’s parents. “We knew then we couldn’t be the only ones feeling this way.
McKenzi’s parents then started sharing her story on social media at first as a support mechanism. Their blog, and social media, then gained much traction. Soon enough, the Deal family was educating the rest of the world about hearing loss.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, McKenzi found it difficult because she still relies on lip reading. Not to mention the muffled sound when someone is wearing a mask.
Rafi Nova then sent the Deal Family Smile Masks.
“We first heard of Rafi Nova when they sent us face masks. I remember being so excited because we didn’t know where to find one, but knew we needed it to better communicate with Kenzi,” says McKenzi’s parents.
“McKenzi’s face lit up when she realized she would be able to read our lips when we have to wear a mask. It was so sweet.”
“No matter what you are facing, never give up or lose hope. God is always with you and will never leave you. Stay positive and never say “I can’t.” Also find a support group if you can, even online,” says Meagan and Brandon Deal.
“McKenzi has faced many obstacles since losing her hearing but it has never stopped her from doing anything she wants to do. Even on her bad days she smiles and pushes through. She knows God has big plans for her and through him anything is possible.”
Kenzi hopes to be a police officer, or teacher when she grows up because she loves helping people.