HELPING OUT: A fundraiser will be held for Andre Tilbaroo on Wednesday to pay for his ear reconstruction surgery.
HELPING OUT: A fundraiser will be held for Andre Tilbaroo on Wednesday to pay for his ear reconstruction surgery.

Mum’s mission to give son ears

ROCKHAMPTON 18-month-old Andre Tilbaroo is a "happy little boy" but his mum Samantha Bryant fears the challenges he faces could change his outlook on life.

Andre was born with Microtia Bilateral, without ear canals and developed ears - in his short life he has experienced sleep apnoea, a cyst on his kidneys and was diagnosed with an abnormal brain.

"The doctors said they'd never seen a brain like that before and he looked like he'd be prone to seizures," Ms Bryant said.

"Because he went through so much when he was little I just don't want him to think there's always something wrong with him."

With the help of hearing aids, an audiologist and an ear nose and throat specialist, Andre can hear and is learning to talk, but the next step on his hearing journey is unknown.

"As a parent you want the best for them but you have to weigh up the best option," she said.

"Will they be okay at school? You don't want them to get teased - you want them to live a normal life."

Ms Bryant and her partner are contemplating multiple surgeries to create ears, ear canals or both.

"We are reconstructing the ear, but with the ear canal we are 50/50," she said.

"It's been a bit of a rough start but the first year we were just focusing on his inner health and now his ears are our focus."

The only challenge in the way of reconstructing Andre's ears is the price tag, which is estimated to be at least $80,000 for each ear.

"Most parents go to the United States because they've just started doing the surgery in Australia - we are still weighing up pros and cons on where to get it done," she said.

Deemed a cosmetic surgery, the government does not subsidise the operation and Andre's parents have to wear the full cost.

Having spent the past 18 months as Andre's first time carer, h mum said the surgery could take her and her husband 18 years to save for.

With Andre in better health she plans to return to work soon but having to pay for travel, accommodation and food in Brisbane for Andre's regular check-ups makes it harder to save.

"We are starting fundraising now because you don't know how long it's going to take," she said.

Their first official fundraiser is Wednesday, November 11, when five Domino's stores in Central Queensland will hold a doughraiser for Andre.

Domino's Rockhampton franchisee James Dooley said when he heard about Andre's story, he knew he had to help.

"Domino's believes in giving back to the communities in which it operates, across five stores in the local area we're all excited to help out Andre and his family," Mr Dooley said.

"We encourage all of our customers to come down, grab some pizzas and know that the funds raised are going to a great cause."

Participating Domino's stores will donate $1 from every Traditional, Premium and New Yorker Pizza sold to help Andre's parents save.

The participating stores include: North Rockhampton, South Rockhampton, Glenmore, Gracemere and Yeppoon.

Donations can also be made here.