By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities family is hoping a surgery will help them hear their daughter’s voice for the first time.

Zoey Ellis, 3, was born with a rare condition called Congenital High Airway Obstruction Syndrome. Now, a local bar is trying to raise money so that Zoey can get surgery to breathe on her own.

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Her parents have to suction her airway anywhere from a few to hundreds of times a day and night.

“I totally knew going into this that this would be my life,” said Amberlee Parkin, Zoey’s mom.

Doctors told Amberlee when she was pregnant that her baby likely would not survive. But Zoey not only survived, she thrived. She had a tracheotomy before she was even born.

Zoey Ellis (credit: GoFundMe)

“She is definitely a miracle,” Amberlee said.

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Zoey cannot speak. She uses sign language and squeaks to communicate.

“She can’t make any sounds, so she’s never cried, she’s never said ‘mommy’ or ‘daddy’ or any of those things,” Amberlee said.

A neighbor told a local bar owner about the family’s struggles. Now, a fundraiser is being held at CR’s Sports Bar in Coon Rapids to raise money for Zoey to have airway reconstruction at the Children’s Hospital of Cincinnati.

If successful, Zoey’s trach and feeding tube used for medications would both be removed.

Her parents would then hear her voice for the first time.

“I can’t even imagine hearing her voice,” said Jeremy Ellis, Zoey’s dad. “I can’t even explain how joyful we would be.”

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The fundraiser is Saturday, July 21 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. There will be a $10-per-person spaghetti dinner, and all-you-can drink beer offer for $10 per person. Click here for more information, and click here to donate to Zoey’s GoFundMe page.

Kate Raddatz