I was visiting my parents’ house a few years ago and answered their telephone to a lovely lady who was soliciting for contributions to The Shepherd Centre. The reason I answered the phone is that my mother is almost completely deaf unless she has her hearing aids in and so the call would otherwise have gone unanswered. I thought there was a beautiful symmetry to the story and so the call was in some ways “meant to be”.
I had not heard of The Shepherd Centre but I spoke to my mum about it and she was very familiar with Dr Bruce Shepherds’ work – I instantly signed up as a contributor and have been one ever since.
I grew up with my Mum needing aids to hear and I also had a profoundly deaf Uncle. I had never consciously appreciated their challenges but have been around people of different hearing ability my whole life.
I recently spent many years working and living in Asia and I considered, for the first time, how my experience of not being able to speak or understand the languages around me must be akin to a kind of deafness. The sense of social exclusion, the frustration at times, the feeling of not being able to contribute because I couldn’t follow what was going on around me from verbal cues was very powerful and made me more attuned to different abilities in people. I became more excited about what a precious thing it must be to help a child who could be feeling the same way – or perhaps more accurately, about how to reframe my understanding of deafness and be more considerate and supportive.
The Shepherd Centre has a fabulous team of people and in conversation I was made aware of the ability to leave a gift which I hadn’t previously considered. The conversation wasn’t pushy and both this informative approach, and my continuing appreciation of the great work done at The Centre made it an easy decision.
It wasn’t difficult to include a gift in my Will – not in the slightest. I’m thrilled that anything I am able to leave will be used to continue the awesome work done at The Shepherd Centre. I’ve visited the Newtown centre and was blown away by the teams and the children there. I think more people would leave gifts if there were a greater awareness of the opportunity to do so and it makes the act of updating wills something we should consider more often.
To others considering leaving a gift in their Will to The Shepherd Centre, I would say, don’t hesitate. You can leave a gift to any worthy cause of course, but if you know The Shepherd Centre and value their work then it’s an incredibly simple, and life changing, thing to do.