ROSEVILLE, Minn. (KMSP) - Two young sisters from St. Cloud, Minn. are on a unique journey together as they celebrate each new word they learn to say -- this comes after both were born unable to hear.
After lots of fundraising and taking out a second insurance plan, both 3-year-old Abigail and 22-month-old Zoey received cochlear implants on the same day at the University of Minnesota's Masonic Children's Hospital in May.
"That day I heard my daughter hear for the first time," their mother Stacy Voigt said.
Doctors say it's quite unusual to be tackling the same issues within the same family -- the sisters are too young to realize it now, but going through the situation together is helping them both. They now travel 76 miles, four days a week for speech therapy in Roseville at Northern Voices.
"They leave here with words I've never heard before, it's absolutely amazing," Stacy said.
Stacy and Jeremy Voigt didn't know until their first born that they each carry a recessive gene that gives any children they have a 25 percent chance of some sort of trouble hearing.
"The way that sound is processed has gotten much, much more advanced," Dr. Tina Huang, University of Minnesota, said. "People just do a lot better than they did."
Now just a few months later, Zoey is close to a dozen words and Abigail is up to more than 200 words.
"Every day is a new day. Every day is an exciting day, and I just want to cry with joy of what we gave them with the gift of hearing," Stacy said.
Zoey and Abigail's dad says that after seeing what his daughters have gone through, they are his heroes. Like many of us, he can't imagine going through what they have at such a young age.
"They are going through this together," Stacy said. "Abigail encourages Zoey to talk. They are just such a team. They really are a team."