Dr. Ciwa Griffiths is my aunt and my hero. Out of all the people I know she has had the most impact on the world today. I stand in amazement of her accomplishments.
She is a pioneer in the field of hearing loss. She was one of the first people to realize that even if a person is profoundly deaf, if you place a hearing aid on them a lot of them will be able to hear and if you place it on a baby, they will grow up being a part of the hearing world. At the time when my aunt suggested putting hearing aids on babies, everyone thought she was crazy. Nowadays a child has to be tested for hearing loss before it leaves the hospital-and that law is in large part to her efforts.
She started the HEAR Foundation in Eagle Rock, California in 1954. It would later become the HEAR Center and move to Pasadena, where it still resides to this day. I often marveled at her and her determination to overcome obstacles. She is my inspiration. She died in 2003, shortly after my son was born. However, the first thing she wanted to know after his birth was “Did the hospital test his hearing before he left.” I assured her they had. She said “Good, I worked very hard to get that law passed that made it mandatory for children to be tested before they leave the hospital so I like to make sure it is being followed.”
That was my Aunt Ciwa, one to never give up. One to not take the easy way out or listen to the naysayers who tell her something can’t be done. My aunt was born in 1911 when women couldn’t even vote let alone go around starting organizations. She was the ninth child of ten (Ciwa pronounced THEE WA means nine in the Fijian language. ) and has written books on her life. She is the reason I can do any of my genealogy! The woman is a godsend!
She is my hero because we are a lot alike, me and her. We stand by what we believe and if you have a problem with it, oh well. She is my hero because she loved her family more than anything else. She is my inspiration and I hope one day when I pass on, I will made a change in the world the way she has. She is a force to be reckoned with. God bless Ciwa Griffiths!