Joey H.

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Joeyfromdownunder” has joined your video chat room, press yes to accept. I double click eagerly on the accept button and watch as the black screen is replaced with an unfamiliar white wall littered with post it notes. A sixteen year old boy with shaggy dark red hair appears in front of the camera. He runs his hand through his hair, looks up and recognizes that I have joined the chat. A wide smile lights up his face, one hand waving excitedly, and the other moving deftly across the keyboard in front of him. “Hi Chels!” he types. I wave in response and sign “I love you” in British Sign Language.

Australian native Joey Hayter was born on a small, sandy, island called Tangalooma which is located close to Brisbane, “it’s the kind of town where everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows who is a tourist and who is not.” Tangalooma is known for its beautiful beaches and clear water where you can see right down to the coral reef and the fish that inhabit it. Joey flashes a sad smile as he begins to tell me about his move from his small town of Tangalooma to the big city known as Sydney. Joey was forced to leave his friends and dog Razo behind in Tangalooma to accompany his mother on a job opportunity. Although, he was sad to leave behind his hometown he was excited to move to the city with his best friend, his mom. A grin creeps onto Joey’s face when he describes his mom, “she is always there for me, and we can laugh at each other.” Joey and his mother have only gotten closer over the past year, due to a tragedy that greatly affected not only Joey, but his mother as well.

When Joey was only thirteen years old, he had a terrible accident which ultimately led





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