Redefining the Word “Can’t”

“Deaf” and “lifeguard” are never heard in the same sentence. They are not synonymous at all. One of the requirements of being a lifeguard is being able to hear and communicate. So how did a completely deaf individual land a summer job working as a waterpark lifeguard?

Both her mom and her dad were lifeguards as teenagers. They both enjoyed it for many summers and took it very seriously. When their first-born was diagnosed with moderate-severe hearing loss at age 4, which progressed to a complete loss of hearing over the next 9 years. She would never be able to talk right. She would never be a lifeguard. She could never be in the military. The list of “nevers” and “can’ts” goes on.

Then technology got better… A lot better! Hearing technology that previously wouldn’t have been used in water could be used with the help of water resistance and waterproof covers. A new door full of opportunities opened. And lifeguarding was one of them. When her mother asked her to get a summer job as a lifeguard at a waterpark, she laughed. “Seriously?! A lifeguard? What about my implants? The waterproof covers work well, but the devices don’t stay on my head.” After some contemplation, she decided to go for it. She completed her guard training and got a lifeguard license. Now, she can be found watching over the kids in the waterpark. It’s wasn’t without its challenges and it is still challenging, but it is worth it to her.

This individual has risen to the challenge of not only learning a new skill, but I am proud to be that individual I am talking about above. It wasn’t easy. It isn’t easy, but again, it was never easy. But never count me out, because as a close friend of mine always says, “I’m allergic to the word ‘can’t’.”

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