Eight-year-old Parker Welsh of Ozawkie, KS, gives credit to his mother and brother for the award winning idea he presented in the global children’s contest sponsored by MED-EL … a pioneer in cochlear implants. Parker’s mother Tracey and his brother Carter have both received MED-EL devices implanted by Hinrich Staecker, MD, Ph.D., otolaryngology at The University of Kansas Health System. “Parker is extremely bright and I applaud his spirit of invention,” Dr. Staecker said. “These kinds of contests help to spark imagination and can set our youth on the path to great accomplishments.”
Parker’s mom agrees. “Parker is special and is already accomplishing great things,” she said. She was not completely surprised that his entry was picked for the grand prize of a $1,000 college scholarship and a trip for two to MED-EL’s international headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria. Parker submitted a video to the Ideas4Ears competition where he theorized that inserting regenerative cells from salamanders into human macrophages – cells that are responsible for tissue repair and regeneration.
“If placed near damaged cochlear hair cells,” Parker reasoned, “then perhaps that could cure my mother’s and brother’s hearing loss.” (See Parker’s complete video submission and interview in the video below.)
Tracey says her cochlear implants were life-changing making every day so much better since she now hears so much more. She says the entire family is making plans to go with Parker to Austria. Parker says his favorite part of the trip will be the tour of MED-EL’s science center where he will explore the stages of bringing an idea to fruition.
In the video, Parker tells more about his winning idea. His father Marc recounts profound moments for his son Carter and his wife Tracey following their cochlear implants and why they call Parker ‘our little professor’. Tracey talks about how excited and grateful the family is for MED-EL. Video includes b-roll of the family together.