Here's seven-month-old Felix Taito paying tribute to KISS. But it's not just make-up he has in common with the legendary rocker who performs in Auckland next Friday.

Felix shares a rare hearing condition with frontman Paul Stanley.

His parents, Seleta and David Taito, hope to meet Stanley when he visits Auckland next week. They want a photo of the pair together to inspire their son as he faces the challenges posed by the condition.

Felix and Stanley both have microtia atresia, a congenital defect where the outer ear has not fully developed and there is no ear canal.


It affects only one in 10,000 children.

Seleta realised there was a problem with Felix's ear soon after he was born. It didn't look like a normal ear, with ridges and curves.

For the first 24 hours of his life, as they waited for a paediatrician, no one could tell her and her husband David what might be wrong.

When Felix's siblings Mackenzie, 3, and Xavier, 6, asked about their new brother's ear, Seleta told them Felix had a "lucky fin".

"He's a Nemo baby," she said, "like on Finding Nemo."

As she lay in the hospital bed panicking, she began Googling ear conditions and deformities. After much research, the couple concluded that Felix had microtia atresia. An ear, nose and throat specialist has since confirmed their diagnosis.

"He has no hearing in his right ear," explains David. "He has to wear a hearing aid on a headband, because there's nothing to clip it on to.

"The minute he put it on, his eyes just opened up. He sat there laughing and giggling. It made a massive difference."

Felix faces a tough childhood.

His parents hope he can have surgery before he starts school because the condition can affect speech development and listening comprehension.

Help baby Felix meet the legendary rocker KISS frontman Paul Stanley who performs in Auckland next Friday.

There are surgical procedures: In New Zealand, patients need to be at least 10 years old, but in the US they can be as young as 3.

However, the US surgery comes at a hefty price. With two operations required, the first to reconstruct the outer ear and the second to rebuild the ear canal, the family faces a combined cost of $120,000.

The couple have set up a Givealittle account in the hope they can raise $60,000, to cover the first surgery when Felix turns 3.

"All you can do is prepare your child as much as you can, and we feel like if we can do something to help him, we should at least try," says Seleta.

KISS connection

Paul Stanley (centre) with KISS band mates. Photo / Getty
Paul Stanley (centre) with KISS band mates. Photo / Getty

Seleta and David didn't realise their connection with KISS until they attended a microtia conference in Brisbane where Stanley was mentioned as a celebrity sufferer.

That reminded Seleta of something she found in her early research.

"I was just trying to find something that looked like Felix's ear. That's when I saw the picture of Paul Stanley come up, but I didn't think much of it at the time."

Seleta hopes Felix can meet Stanley next week. Although her son isn't old enough to talk, a photo to inspire would be worth a thousand words.

"It would be so awesome. It's pretty amazing what [Paul's] achieved. He's someone that can be really inspiring to Felix in terms of what can be achieved with this condition."

You can donate to Felix here

Join the conversation on the Herald Life Facebook page

Meet 7-month-old Felix Taito and find out why it's not just make-up he shares with KISS guitarist Paul Stanley.

Posted by Herald Life on Thursday, October 8, 2015