Strangers use tragedy to give girl the gift of hearing for Christmas

Brianna Giddens can now hear thanks to the kindness of strangers.



Brianna Giddens can now hear thanks to the kindness of strangers.

When a 5-year-old Seminole County girl died earlier this year after a life filled with health issues, her parents decided to entrust her brand-new hearing aids to her teacher, in the hope that they would find their way to a family who needed them.

The pink hearing aids ended up in the hands of 4-year-old Brianna Giddens.

WFTV introduced the Giddens during the last holiday season after learning about Brianna's declining hearing and her parents' struggle to afford hearing aids not covered by their insurance.

Brianna was born with cytomegalovirus, or CMV, which could, over time, result in complete deafness.

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Since last year, her hearing has deteriorated markedly, but her parents could not afford the $3,000 it would cost to get hearing aids for her.

Jennifer Autorino, who teaches Seminole County children younger than 3 who are deaf or hard of hearing, contacted the Giddens family after the 5-year-old Seminole County girl died.

Autorino described the girl who died as being full of sunshine.

“Just her aura was one of sweetness and love,” Autorino said. “I don’t think you could meet her without feeling how she contributed to the world.”

When the girl died, her parents, who had struggled to afford her brand new hearing aids, gave them to Autorino, who gave them to the Giddens.

“It broke our heart because somebody lost their child, but they passed something forward to help our child, and we’ll always be grateful for that,” Brianna’s father said.

The two families have never met, and the donors asked to keep their identity private.

While they may not know them, Brianna’s mother said they would never forget what the donors did for her daughter.

“Every time they put those in, it’s a reminder of the gift they’ve given us,” she said. “Absolutely.”