The area’s own Todd Simpson and Mojo Child will be live at Workplay in Birmingham on January 9 for the Children’s HEAR Center Charity concert. Alabama Power and Tom Williams Lexus are sponsoring the event.

The concert is an all ages’ show and tickets are $20 with the proceeds going to The Children’s HEAR Center an outpatient clinic of Children’s Hospital Birmingham.

Children's HEAR Center provides comprehensive diagnostic and intervention services for families and professionals working on behalf of children with hearing loss, emphasizing the development of auditory skills and spoken language in a variety of communication formats.

Todd Simpson is no stranger to Children’s Hospital. He was not born deaf. However, he was born with DiGeorge Syndrome and spent many days and nights right inside the hospital. He later learned to play the guitar by ear and has since defied all odds. He was nominated as one of Birmingham’s best artists in 2009.

Val Blakely, a mom of two deaf children who live in the greater Birmingham area and co-author of I’m All Ears, said when she first saw Todd, she got chills. “At that moment, he was my child,” she said. “Even though it wasn’t hearing loss related, I watched in tears at some of the photos I saw behind him depicting the time he was in the hospital. The pictures were of tubes running everywhere and surgery after surgery, but there he was in front of me looking and acting like your “above average” young man, singing with so much passion that I suddenly realized that it was now my bottom I was having to keep in my seat.”

Blakely said that after the show was over and Wes Simpson, Todd’s dad, took the microphone, she saw a man speak about his son with the most unbelievable pride she had ever seen. Wes told stories about how Todd couldn’t take exit exams in high school, but how he marched into the principal’s office demanding he take the test orally. Then, his mom got up and spoke about her son’s history, his journey and where he is today. The Simpson family had given Blakely hope.

Blakely said her children visit Children’s HEAR Center frequently, adding they took her family in eight years ago and assured them that they were going to teach them how to communicate and use spoken language. Today, Blakely said her two children are doing great in public school, keeping up with their peers and doing it all with no services other than their hearing devices.

Blakely said the reason the fundraiser is so important is because many of the items and services under the hearing loss category are still not covered by many insurance companies. “Many of us can not imagine our lives without music,” she said. “Thanks to the Children’s HEAR Center neither can my deaf children.”

Hearing loss is the leading birth defect, but in most cases highly treatable. Three out of 1,000 babies are born with hearing loss and many more lose hearing as they age. Over 90 percent are born to hearing parents.

For more information on the Children’s HEAR Center visit www.chsys.org and for Todd Simpson and Mojo Child visit www.toddsimpsonandmojochild.com or see his story in the award winning Hometown Appeal, available at our office and in select locations throughout the county.

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