Nine-year-old Demii Wright had gone through so many trials and tribulations after being diagnosed with unilateral sensorineural hearing loss that she became determined that she didn’t want any kid to ever have to go through it by herself as she did. Demii recently wrote a new book, “Can you HEAR me now?: A memoir of a child who experienced spontaneous hearing loss,” where she shares her own journey in order to inspire and comfort other children who may be suffering from hearing loss.
“I just wanted to tell the world and everybody who has hearing loss, or may have something else, that it’s OK to be different and that you can still do whatever you want in life,” Demii tells Madison365. “It’s important for young people to know that they aren’t alone and that it is important to follow your dreams, and one day they will come true.”
The new book “Can you HEAR me now?” was just launched 10 days ago, and Demii recounts how when the hearing loss first happened, that it was pretty scary for her and her family. Late last December, she started to have a ringing in her right ear. The persistent ear infections would not subside with treatment and were causing her a great deal of pain, so Demii was referred to a specialist – an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor. Eventually, she was diagnosed as having unilateral sensorineural hearing loss.
“I was getting really upset because my hearing was getting worse,” Demii remembers. “I do remember them having to scan my brain to see what the problem was and they couldn’t find anything at first. And then I was given a hearing aid.”
Mom was also very worried about her daughter, too. Mom is Danyelle Wright, a longtime Madison-area educator who was named the new principal at Cottage Grove School this past summer.
“It was very hard at the beginning. I will say that this experience has given me a deep empathy for families with kiddos that have special needs,” Wright tells Madison365. “Being an educator myself, I’ve helped with many families and ran IEP meetings, but going through it yourself with your child – especially since it was so spontaneous and sporadic – that was very challenging.
“My husband and I, we just had to ground ourselves and take it step by step to figure out what we need to get through this,” she adds. “Along the way, we came up with the idea for Demii to do some journaling and to write her feelings down – she was going through a lot waking up one day being able to hear and then the next day not.”
“I remember one day walking up to my mom and asking her, ‘Why did God make me like this? Why did he make me have hearing loss? Why does he make me go through all of this pain? I thought by writing this book that it would help other kids who are scared like I once was to get through this,” Demii says. “I really just wanted to tell my story and talk about the journey through hearing loss and to tell kids in this world who might be reading it that you aren’t the only one going through this. Hopefully, it will make them feel better.”
The book was published by Dr. Jasmine Zapata’s Motivational M.D. Publishing.
“Dr. Jasmine [Zapata] has been in the background this whole time motivating Demii to keep on writing and giving her the space to do it,” Wright says. “She invited Demii to her Motivational M.D. Publishing groups where they talked about what it takes to be a writer and Demii would attend those meetings. We also did a Zoom call with somebody who helps with branding and they helped Demii with creating the title.
“Dr. Jasmine has been an integral part of motivating Demii and helping her through the book-writing process,” she continues. “She has been great.
“This is all Demii – all of her thoughts, all of her research, all of her experiences, all of her pictures. She really put the time into this – with Dr. Jasmine, as well,” Wright adds. “This kid is so inspirational to me that she’s been able to do all this while undergoing treatment. She’s my superhero. And I’m so proud of her.”
The book can be purchased at Amazon.com
“Being an author makes me feel pretty special. I’m happy to make my family proud and Dr. Jasmine proud of me. It feels really good to be helping out other children like me,” Demii says. “I think the book is going to make these kids’ lives better. This book is something I didn’t have when I was going through all of the pain, and I wish that I did. I was so nervous. But now I think that when these kids go through the pain, they will have something to read and something to hold by them and they won’t be scared anymore – how I once was.”
A big chunk of the profits from “Can you HEAR me now?” will go toward helping young people with hearing loss, the family says.
“Profits from the book will go towards kids in need – young people who need money for a hearing aid or money to get surgery,” Demii says.
“That’s what she wanted,” Wright adds. “I can’t even describe how proud I am of her to be so giving. Other kids may want a toy or use the money for something else, but the first thing Demii said when she saw people buying her book was that ‘I want to donate pretty much most of it to people who are in need.’ The money could go for hearing aids or for hospitals who need this book for kids who are going through this and having MRIs and CT scans like Demii. It can help the kids get through this.
“I was surprised when she first told me this. It warmed my heart,” she adds. “She’s such an awesome kid for that.”