A DETERMINED woman whose life changed forever when she lost her hearing is helping relaunch a historic charity.

In 2010, 25-year-old Helen Hunt was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type two (NF2), which causes tumours to grow along the nerves responsible for hearing and balance.

Miss Hunt, who lives in Breightmet, had planned to be a geography teacher after graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University in July, 2011.

After initially suffering from tinnitus, she was already deaf in her left ear when she underwent a 12-hour operation to remove tumours in September, 2011.

Surgery to remove further right-side tumours in May, 2012, left Miss Hunt completely deaf, although an auditory brain implant now helps her sense vibrations.

She began volunteering at the Bury Society for Deaf and Hearing Impaired People in March last year, and within two months was hired as fundraising and marketing manager.

Miss Hunt spearheaded the charity’s relaunch, which sees the adults’ and children’s branches come together with a new name and logo. She has also regained her independence and confidence, which was knocked when she lost her hearing.

Miss Hunt said: “I have gone from being pushed around in a wheelchair, not going out or speaking to anyone, to being independent again.

“At first it was hard — little things I had taken for granted, like being able to talk on the phone, I now had to rely on other people to do for me.

“I was focussed on what I couldn’t do, but coming to the Deaf Society has really helped me cope. Now I realise things like getting a bus or going into a shop are not out of reach. I just need to help with deaf awareness rather than just expecting people to know how to act.”

Formed in 1932, Bury Deaf Society moved to Tenterden Street in 1948 and provides a host of social, life skills and educational opportunities.

The relaunch was held as part of Deaf Awareness Week. For more information email burydeafclub@live.co.uk or call 0161 763 4882.