LI girl's hearing loss discovered from mask mandate leads to help for boy in Honduras

The family of a four-year-old girl from Port Washington who has hearing loss is helping a young boy in Honduras get new hearing aides after connecting with his mother over Facebook.

Video Transcript

Our "Be Kind" segment tonight, the story of a young girl on Long Island having trouble communicating with, and reacting to, the world around her.

- And then her parents discovered the problem. Hearing aids have changed her life. And now the parents of Ruby Gansey are trying to help other kids who have hearing problems.

- And they are, indeed, changing the world one child at a time. Here's Long Island reporter Kristin Thorne.

KRISTIN THORNE: Like everyone, life changed for four-year-old Ruby Ganci at the beginning of the pandemic. But for her, it may have been for the better.

LINDSAY GANCI: As everyone started putting masks on, she would say things like, move your mask, I can't hear what you're saying.

KRISTIN THORNE: Her parents discovered Ruby had permanent hearing loss. She now wears hearing aids. Her mother, Lindsey Ganci, recently joined a Facebook group for parents of children with hearing loss. Earlier this week, she found a post by Iris Gomez Valle, who lives in Honduras. Her six-year-old son, Nathan, like Ruby, has permanent hearing loss. Last month, his used hearing aids stopped working.

IRIS GOMEZ VALLE: A month ago, my son started telling me that he wasn't hearing-- that he couldn't hear. And I tried them, and yes, there wasn't any sound coming from them. New ones will cost more than $3,000, something Valle cannot afford. She's currently in medical school.

IRIS GOMEZ VALLE: I asked if maybe someone had a spare of used hearing aids or knew about someone willing to donate used hearing aids. Shortly after Ruby was diagnosed with hearing loss last spring, the family started a foundation called Hear with Ruby. It's meant to help kids just like Nathan.

LINDSAY GANCI: I reached out to Iris and said, can I help? What do you need, because we don't have a ton of money raised but we have a few hundred dollars?

KRISTIN THORNE: Since that conversation, Ganci has raised more than $2,000. And on Friday, Ruby held a bake sale outside their home in Port, Washington to reach their goal.

RUBY GANCI: I'm trying to get him hearing aids, and he was all the way in Honduras.

IRIS GOMEZ VALLE: I'm so grateful for what they're doing.