Four years on and Alana is doing well
FOUR years ago the Bundaberg community opened its heart to help raise money to give a little girl the gift of hearing.
Alana Reid was born with malformed ear known as microtia and bilateral hearing loss.
The only hope of giving her the chance to hear was an operation more than 11,000kms away in America.
The operation involved rebuilding her external ear and placing a titanium piece in her middle ear.
The cost of the operation was more $100,000, something Alana's family was not able to afford.
The fundraising kicked off in August 2012 and, even when the Rum City battled one of its worst natural disasters, the 2013 flood, it still gave to the little girl.
Alana's mother, Emma Reid, who is now a NewsMail journalist, said the generosity shown by the community was more than she could ever had hoped for.
Songs were written for the little redhead and workers and school students dressed in pink, giving all they could.
Everyone around town knew Alana's plight and, just one year later, they had helped the four-year-old on her way to changing her life forever.
After the 11-hour operation and weeks of recovery, Alana didn't want to wear her bone conducting hearing aid for the first time.
Tests later revealed her hearing in her right ear went from a moderate to severe loss to a mild loss.
The mild loss meant she was able to hear for the first time without a hearing aid. The operation had been a success.
Since then, doctors advised Alana was actually born with profound hearing loss in her left ear.
Earlier this week she underwent testing to see if she was suitable for a cochlear implant on that side.
"At birth she was tested and doctors thought she was profoundly deaf on the left but the next test and each one after Alana fooled the doctors into thinking she had hearing,” Emma said.
"It wasn't until after we took her to the US they realised she didn't have any hearing at all in the left side.
"There were hopes she could have a cochlear but after extensive testing this week the doctors said the nerve to her brain is too small to get any benefit from one.”
Emma said Alana, who turns 8 next week, was a strong-willed girl and allowed nothing to get in her way.
"Even with the ups and downs of constant medical appointments Alana still smiles,” she said.
"She has had a bit of a rough trot but the support from the community has always helped and we are forever grateful.”