Braden Baker never imagined that his hearing condition would lead him to making an impact in the lives of so many others like him.
The 10-year-old was just an infant when doctors learned that he has bilateral sensorineural hearing loss — which can worsen over time. In the years that followed, Braden grew up wearing a pair of hearing aids, and learned a valuable lesson about the devices when the family’s beloved dog, Chewy, destroyed them — twice.
“We had the responsibility talk and the value of money talk, because hearing aids are not covered by insurance. Gratefully we could afford to get some,” Braden’s mom, Ashley Baker, tells PEOPLE. “His hearing aids run anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000. We were like, ‘Braden, you’ve got to be more responsible.’ ”
The importance of the “money talk” was not lost on the fifth grader, though. Soon, Braden began thinking about the hearing impaired children who are unable to afford the costly devices. So, he came up with an idea.
The family, who hail from Fort Worth, Texas, quickly teamed up with the Oticon Hearing Foundation, to which they donated the money last month. Ashley praised Pennsylvania Dr. Kamal Elliot, who will use the money during her next mission trip to provide hearing aids to children from families who can’t afford them.