WATCH: UK granddad travels to witness Emily’s special day
IT WAS a family affair when eight-year-old Emily McKenna had her second cochlear implant "switched on" at the Sunshine Coast Hear and Say Centre for Deaf Children in Nambour.
Dad David, mum Cheryl and brothers Joseph (10) and Riley (5) were there but the greatest thrill for the family was granddad Chris McKenna was also with them.
Chris (78) arrived just in time from Liverpool in the UK to sit in on the implant programming session and hear Emily tell audiologist Trudie Dowell, "it sounds good".
For Chris it was a particularly emotional moment.
"I hadn't realised the extent of her deafness and I didn't know what a cochlear implant was," he said.
"I must admit my eyes were watering."
Emily is only the third child on the Sunshine Coast to receive a double cochlear implant since the centre opened.
Her deafness was first noticed at four-years-old.
"She wasn't speaking as she should have been and we had her hearing tested," Cheryl said.
"We were told she had a mild to moderate loss.
"It kept deteriorating and when she was eight we were told she was profoundly deaf.
"Last November she received an implant in her right ear. It helped for a while but it was soon clear she needed an implant in her left ear. It's all happened so quickly."
"We are so fortunate to be born in a generation where the cochlear implant is an option," David said.
"We are very blessed."
For Emily, after a celebratory cream cake with the family and Hear and Say staff, it was back to school for the afternoon.