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Ellen surprises deaf woman and generous mother-in-law with life-changing gifts

Sarah Churman was born with a hearing defect. With ears that lack the ability or process sound waves, Sarah lived her life not even knowing how her voice sounds like.

In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Sarah recalls how often she would wonder what kind of sound do thunders and rains make. She longs to hear the sounds people without disability take for granted.

Thus, when a new hearing implant was released and became available in the market, a then 29-year-old Sarah cannot help but be on cloud nine. However, her happiness about the hearing device was short lived.


The hearing implant that would change the life of Sarah comes with a whopping price of $30,000, and that is only for one ear. Knowing that her health insurance will not cover the hefty price of the implant, Sarah braced herself to bury the hope she felt.

Fortunately, upon marrying the love of her life, Sarah Churman did not only gain a husband but a loving and selfless mother-in-law who treats her as her own as well.

Though her mother-in-law is not that well-off nor rich, she knew  has to do something after learning that her daughter-in-law has an opportunity to hear the voice of her family and loved ones.

She knew how important it is for Sarah to be able to hear the babbles of her baby, and the ‘i love you’s’ of a doting husband. Without having a second thought, Lari withdrew her retirement fund for Sarah’s miracle.


Not knowing how to say no to the tempting kindness of her mother-in-law, Sarah Churman was able to afford an implant for one of her ears.

Having no idea how the implant procedure will turn out, Sarah cannot help but shed tears of joy when she was able to hear for the very first time.

Churman tells her story in a memoir she wrote called “Powered On“:

It’s hard for me to explain, but in that moment of activation I experienced a complete sense of clarity. In those seconds before a noise happened, I knew it was on and I knew the moment a noise was made that I’d hear it. To me, it was an absolute miracle. In that moment, I had experienced a miracle I had waited for all my life. Melinda began speaking and I was registering it and hearing it!

The beautiful and genuine moment of pure happiness Sarah has long been waiting for was captured and immortalized in a video. A lot of people cannot help but be happy for Sarah.

The video of herself hearing for the first time trended and went viral. Her video was shared by thousands of people worldwide, reaching the attention of Ellen DeGeneres.

Obviously touched by the inspiring story of Sarah Churman and her selfless mother-in-law, Ellen DeGeneres invited the Churman family in her television program, The Ellen Show.

Unknown to the family, Ellen DeGeneres is not only interested in the miraculous chapter of Sarah’s life. Ellen is aware of the admirable sacrifice her selfless mother-in-law made. And so the comic host with a big heart prepared a surprise for the family.

To the astonishment of Sarah Churman and her family, Ellen delivered a great news- the Envoy Medical Corporation, the company which supplied Sarah with her first hearing implant, would shoulder the cost of her second implant procedure.

On top of that, Ellen has also given the family a $30,000 check as a replacement for the retirement fund Sarah’s mother-in-law willingly gave up for her.

“Sarah is the best daughter-in-law in the world.” Lari said.

Watch the uplifting story of Sarah Churman and her mother-in-law which serves as a testament to how a mother’s love can conquer great lengths.

Photos | Sarah Churman

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