what it is but something draws me to Holly. Our situations
are not the same, but there are many similarities. I can
relate to much of what she has gone through and what she is
dealing with now.
Or maybe it's the mother thing. We both find strength in
motherhood. My JD is the best kid in the whole world. Her
Zay is the second best little boy. (She might not agree on
this one, though.)
Holly is going through a rough time. She has a horrible
disease that causes tumors to grown throughout her brain,
spine and body. Those tumors cause major damage. She's had
numerous surgeries throughout her life.
At 22 years old, Holly is already completely blind, mostly
deaf and in a wheel chair. Through it all, she tries to do
the best for her son. She won't give up.
Last January, Holly had surgery to remove a tumor from her
right auditory nerve. The surgery destroys all hearing in
that ear. She can't get a Cochlear Implant because the
tumor damages the part of the ear needed for a CI. She had
her hopes on getting and ABI.
ABI stands for Auditory Brainstem Implant. It's made by
the same people who do Cochlear Implants. It is placed
directly into the brain. It's more invasive and still
experimental. For that reason, insurance and
Medicare/Medicaid do not cover the surgery.
Unforunately for Holly, the tumor was too big and caused
way too much damage. The ABI could not be inserted.
There is no longer any hope for her to hear in that ear.
She's been doing the best she can. It's not easy. Over the
past eight months, the tumor in her left ear has grown. It
now needs to come out. When it does, she will be 100% blind
and 100% deaf. That's truly a scary fate.
Holly recently wrote her life story in a book called "Never
Give Up Hope." She is trying to raise money to pay for an
ABI for her left ear. This is her last chance at ever
Here is a new paper article about Holly's book and fund
raiser. It includes links to her web page where you can
order the book or make a donation. Please help Holly if you
Alonzo pens book to raise funds for implant
Thursday, September 3, 2009
By The Times News Staff
Holly Alonzo with her son Isaiah and husband Edward.
Holly Alonzo of Piggott has had her share of battles in life, and
at age 22 continues to face burdens that would cause many to lose
hope. But Alonzo, who has battled neurofibromatosis-2 since she
was five years old, refuses to give up, despite blindness and now
the onset of deafness. The young wife and mother has written her
life story in a book in hopes of raising enough money for an
auditory brainstem implant that will preserve her ability to
Her story, "Never Giving Up Hope," begins when she was five and
chronicles the difficulties she experienced prior to being
diagnosed with the disease, a chromosomal defect that causes the
growth of benign tumors that impede the central nervous system.
At age 13 doctors at the Arkansas Children's Hospital found
numerous tumors, with the largest compressing Holly's brainstem,
and made the diagnosis. Days later the mass was removed, but when
Holly awoke she was unable to see, "I thought my life was over
that day," she remembered.
But Holly persevered, and despite losing her sight, her balance
and enduring countless surgeries tried to live as normal life as
possible. More recently tumors caused her to lose the hearing in
one ear, and now the hearing in her other ear is being threatened
by yet another tumor.
After being turned down by Medicaid, Holly began to try to raise
the $30,000 needed for the implant. And after countless raffles,
and collecting numerous donations, she found that she was only
one-fourth of the way to her goal. That's when Holly decided to
write the book she had long considered.
"The ABI is critical for Holly's communication," noted
neurologist Dr. Rick A. Friedman of the House Clinic in Los
Angeles. According to Alonzo, Friedman, along with neurosurgeon
Marc. S. Schwartz, M.D., have offered to do the surgery without
charge and the St. Vincent Medical Center has agreed to waive
their charges as well. "I am motivated because of my commitment
to helping people in need," Friedman said of the effort.
Holly, the mother of two-year-old Isaiah, also had other reasons
for writing the book, "I wanted to help, educate and inspire
others with my story," she noted.
The Piggott Public Library will be hosting a book signing by
Holly from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 19. Copies of the book
also will be available for purchase at that time. Those wanting
more information on the book, or making a donation to the cause,
or may email her at
Those wanting more information on the book signing may call the
Piggott Public Library at 870-598-3666.