There was a special guest at the WA WA Shrine Temple Saturday as the members gathered for their Annual General Meeting.
Jérémy Gabriel is one of two international patient abassadors for Shriners Hospitals for Children. While the 16-year-old was born deaf, a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid implanted when he was six allowed him to hear, leading him to discover a love for singing.
“Singing is my life,” Gabriel says. Being deaf was one of the complications from Treacher Collins Syndrome. The Quebec City native was diagnosed with the syndrome at six months old. It causes facial malformations and other complications.
Just a few months following his implant at the Montreal Shriners Hospital, Gabriel was invited to sing at a concert at his school.
“(I realized) I can sing, I can hear the sounds, I can hear music. Now I want to sing, and I love to sing.”
Gabriel approached his mother, who told him that if he believed in himself and worked hard, she would support his dream to sing.
By the time Gabriel was eight, he sang the national anthem at a Montreal Canadians game. Since then, he has been able to meet and sing with his idol, Celine Dion. Gabriel has also performed for the Pope.
The teen has little complications with his implant, saying that the music simply needs to be turned up for him to hear. Over the next few years, Gabriel will be working with a producer to record a full-length album. As the Shriners ambassador, Gabriel is getting the chance to tour across North America, sing and tell his story.
“I want to give hope and give children to all children on the plant. And I want to tell everyone that your dream is possible.”