‘A silent thunder’

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Sandra’s ability to overcome obstacles has left an impression on others, especially her younger sister. “She’s been an older sister to me because she helps me with everything,” said Rosie, 11. “She gets me through everything, and when people are mean to me, she helps me. And I love her.”

Sandra’s uphill battle with her disability will likely continue into college and beyond, which her parents acknowledged. “She’s got to show she can do everything a regular kid can,” said Denise, adding that people who meet her might “fear her disability” at first.

But they expect her to overcome it. “She has a way of showing people, ‘It’s OK. It’s me. It’s who I am,’” her mother said.

The installation of a second cochlear implant would further improve Sandra’s hearing, but, while she said she wants to do it, she added that she is in no rush.

In the meantime, she is focusing on the things any high school girl would — softball, school and enjoying life. When asked if she had any advice for others with hearing impairments, she smiled and said, “Don’t give up. You can do it.”

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