TRURO, N.S. – A Truro teen has been invited to play in an overseas tournament with Canada’s deaf volleyball team.
Abbie Langille, who will be 16 next month, was born deaf. That aspect of her world changed, however, when she received her first cochlear implant at 13 months and a second one at age eight, which gives her the ability to hear.
Cochlear implants do the work of damaged parts of the inner ear (cochlea) by sending sound signals to the brain, unlike hearing aids which simply make sounds louder.
Abbie has adjusted well with her implants, however, her mother Kristen said, and besides being an “awesome” student she has also always been athletic.
After trying her hand at a variety of sports, Abbie settled on volleyball as her favourite.
“It’s really fun. I made a lot of friends through it and that’s what got me to be social, I guess. It’s my sport, my thing that I get to do on my free time,” Abbie said, while chatting about her pending world travel.
“I like being active. I tried so many different sports. I tried tennis, I tried gymnastics, I tried cheerleading, I tried soccer, I tried basketball. But I don’t know, I just like this one. It like connected to me and it clicked on to me right away.”
Now, after playing volleyball since she was a young child, Abbie has been invited to participate in a tournament on May 15 in France. She currently plays with the Truro Cougars Volleyball Club.
Depending on her performance there, Abbie could have the possibility of going on to other future international tournaments in a ramp up to the Deaflympics in 2021.
“I’ve always wanted to travel around the world. And to do it with a team that you are going to be playing with that’s pretty neat,” said Abbie, of her future prospects.
Mary Dyck, the men’s and women’s team manager for the Canadian Deaf Sports Association, said both she and the coaches “are very pleased” that Abbie will be joining the program for the competition in France.
“The tournament will be a good opportunity for the coaches to view new players and determine how they might contribute to the Canada Deaf Volleyball program,” she said. “Playing with teammates who are also deaf or hard of hearing will be a new experience and we have found that athletes coming into the program really strive in this environment.”
The team she is joining, which is headquartered in Edmonton, won a bronze medal at the last PanAm Deaf Games and placed seventh at the world championships. It qualified for the Deaflympics last year in Turkey and Abbie is the only player east of Toronto to be added to its lineup.
International travel does not come cheap, however, so her family has been holding a series of small fundraisers to help cover the cost of her trip to France.
The cost of Abbie’s flight, from Toronto to France, her room and registration is $1,200. Kristen and her mother, Cathy Horton, are accompanying Abbie, although they are entirely paying their own way, with all donated funds reserved for Abbie’s expenses.
The first installment of the France trip was covered by donations that came from the teachers’ casual day fund and matching contributions from the students at CEC, which totalled more than $400.
As well, Kristen is raffling off a laundry basket filled with approximately 50 donated items, ranging from gift cards, to hotel stays to a spa certificate valued at $97. Tickets for the basket are $1.
What: Truro real estate agent Mary Brown, of Royal LePage, is planning a canvas paint party at the Bible Hill Fire Hall to help cover costs associated with Abbie Langille’s trip to France.
When: Sunday, March 25, 1 to 3 p.m.
Cost: $35 (painters are asked to bring their own canvas).
For more information: Contact Mary at 902-899-1479 or Kristen at 902-956-0888 or email email@example.com