It all started when the dog ate his hearing aid. 12-year-old Braden Baker has worn hearing aids since he was three months old. Each device costs over $3,000 and isn’t covered by insurance, so two years ago when his family dog chewed one up in the middle of the night, it was no small matter. Braden’s mom, Ashley, had a chat with him about gratitude — to understand that they could afford the replacement, but many families can’t.
Braden couldn’t stop thinking about what his mom told him. It just seemed so unfair that other kids couldn’t afford to hear, so he decided to do something about it. That’s when he started his GoFundMe.
Listen to the full story of Braden’s Hearing Aid Awareness in his new interview on GoFundMe’s podcast, True Stories of Good People.
Braden may have hearing loss, but he’s not about to let that get in his way. He skateboards, wakesurfs, and can solve any of his 20 Rubik’s cubes in less than 30 seconds—sometimes while wakesurfing.
He also loves to make videos with his friends and older brother, Christopher. So when he started a GoFundMe to help other kids afford hearing aids, he knew that a video would be the perfect way to spread the word.
That night before bed, Ashley helped Braden share the video on social media with a link to his GoFundMe. They never expected how their friends and neighbors would respond.
“When we woke up, we already had $500!” said Braden. “Later that day, we reached $1,000. We were just shocked. We thought it would take a lot longer to get that much.”
It quickly became clear to Braden that he could raise his initial goal of $1,000 to the cost of a full hearing aid—around $3,000. Donations kept rolling in, and he edged closer and closer to his new goal.
Meanwhile, the manufacturer of Braden’s hearing aids found his video and reached out. They wanted to see how they could help. In fact, they had their own nonprofit arm that gives hearing aids to people locally and around the world—would Braden want their help to achieve his mission?
Fast forward three weeks and several excited video updates later, the GoFundMe had raised over $11,000! In addition to donations, Braden and Ashley were amazed by the support that flooded in from the community.
“One of the coolest things has been the people who left comments to Braden,” said Ashley. “There was even a little girl who sent in a picture of her with her pink hearing aids. It’s been amazing to me the mothers who have reached out, too. A lot of people didn’t know that hearing aids aren’t covered by insurance.”
To celebrate his hard work, GoFundMe named Braden a GoFundMe Hero in August 2017. Soon after, his story attracted the attention of one of his heroes: Ellen Degeneres. Two months later, she invited Braden to be on her show.
Through his GoFundMe, Braden continues to raise money to give hearing aids to people in need here in the US and around the world.
To support Braden’s Hearing Aid Awareness, click the “Take action” button below.
To support multiple kid heroes like Braden, you can make a tax-deductible donation to the GoFundMe.org Kid Heroes cause.