Brothers tackle Kilimanjaro to help deaf children

Nik and Mark Eason
Nik and Mark Eason

Two brothers are to climb Africa’s highest mountain to help deaf children.

Nik Eason, a site manager for Taylor Wimpey, has been inspired by his two children to raise cash for the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) – by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Nik, 32, who lives in Bedford and works at Steppingley Gardens in Flitwick, hopes that he and his brother Mark, 37, who lives in Rushden and also works for Taylor Wimpey as a customer service engineer – can raise more than £6,000 by reaching the summit at 19,341 feet (5,895m).

The brothers have already received a big boost to their fundraising appeal, thanks to a £1,000 donation from the company.

Nik said: “Both my children were born deaf, so I do a fair bit of charity work for the NDCS. The charity has helped us tremendously. Taylor Wimpey has also been a massive help. As well as giving this donation, they’ve allowed me a lot of time off for hospital visits and so on. It just shows how well they look after their employees.”

The brothers leave for Africa on October 20, and hope to climb and descend the mountain in six days.

Nik said: “We’ve both done quite a bit of training in this country. Of course you never know how you will cope with the altitude, but hopefully we’ll be OK.”

There’s no clear reason why Nik and wife Kerry’s two children – Ava-Rose, 4, and Charlie, 2, – were both born profoundly deaf.

Both children have cochlear implants: electronic devices inserted into their inner ear during a four-hour operation, to provide sound signals to the brain.

Nik said: “There isn’t actually any history of deafness on my side of the family or my wife’s side – it’s a bit of an anomaly. It’s a very, very emotional moment when your child starts to hear for the first time. You see their eyes change when they start to hear. But it can be confusing for the child too, after perhaps a year of silence.”

He said both children had responded well to the implants – and Ava-Rose is due to start soon at a local mainstream school.

The NDCS has helped the family since their children were diagnosed – both with technical expertise and with psychological advice – and Nik added: “Now I would like to give something back.”

To sponsor Nik or Mark, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nik-eason2 or www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-eason1.

Steppingley Gardens is located off Froghall Road, Flitwick.