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Bend boy needs hearing device to play ball

By Alicia Inns
Published On: Mar 26 2014 07:52:11 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 28 2014 01:31:42 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Alicia Inns introduces us to Mason Proknow, a 7-year-old who needs a special hearing device to play baseball.

BEND, Ore. -

It's spring break, and 7-year-old Mason Proknow loves nothing more than to get outside and play baseball.

But imagine not being able to single out your coach's instructions.

"I think he was about 8 weeks old when we got the official diagnosis of him being severe to profound hearing loss," Karina Proknow, Mason's mom, said Wednesday.

Mason's parents spent months meeting with specialists until they decided to get him cochlear implants.

"Slowly we began starting to talk to him, and by 16 months old, he said 'Mama'," Proknow said.

Now, Mason not only has the implants, he uses a special 'FM system' in school. It's a wireless microphone, connected to his implant, allowing him to hear the teacher and classmates directly.

The problem -- it can't leave the classroom.

"When you get him outside, it's really difficult for him, the wind is his biggest enemy," said Aaron Boehm, Mason's coach. "It would be like us if we were just blowing into a microphone all day, and that's all he hears is that distortion."

Mason needs another FM system to play sports.

"With the FM system, we can speak directly to him, and we can coach him one on one, so he can understand specifically what we are asking him to do," Boehm said.

However, the Proknows' insurance doesn't cover it.

"The one we've decided on for him is $2,254 or something like that," Proknow said.

Bond Street Barber Shop found out about Mason's story and wants to help.

"The next thing you know, Travis from Bond Street Barber is calling my husband saying, 'We want to do more. We've already got a jar and people have already started putting money in it'," Proknow said.

So far, the community has donated about $1,000.

As Mason gets ready to start another season, adding the new system to his lineup could really take his game to the next level.

"If we can raise the funds and really get the kids the equipment they need, so they can play on the same level field as all the other kids, that's all we're asking for," Boehm said.

Bond Street Barber is holding a fundraiser Sunday, April 13th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For $30, you get a haircut, beer and a burger, and all the money goes towards raising money for Mason and his hearing-impaired friend Seth, who is also on his baseball team this year.

If you can't make it then, you can always stop by the barber shop and donate to the jar inside.

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