COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -
If you've been in downtown Columbia for long periods of time during the week, then you've likely seen Janie Young and her service dog, Zuma, traveling through town.
Janie, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age, is confined to a wheelchair and leaned on Zuma to help her even with basic tasks.
But these past few months have been especially tough for Janie.
Janie learned of a breast cancer diagnosis months ago and went through a mastectomy. She also learned that her canine companion of eight years was suffering with cancer, too.
Zuma was treated first and was well enough to help Janie get through her treatment as well, but soon after, the dog took a turn for the worse and had to be put down a week ago.
Now Janie, who is mostly self-sufficient and has a job, needs a new service dog. However, there is a 3-year wait for a new dog.
Enter Mia Johnson, who has organized a GoFundMe fundraiser to help Janie raise the $10,000 to get a service dog right away.
So far, Johnson has raised almost $3,000 for Janie.
"Janie Young is a wonderful lady who doesn't let anything stop her," said Johnson on the fundraising page. We would love to get some support about this lady and rally the troops to get her the help she needs."
Woman Battling Cancer Needs New Service Dog
Jennifer Bellamy, WLTX
July 9, 2014
Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Someone is missing beside Janie Young's chair. Last week, after eight years together, her service Golden Retriever, Zuma, was put down after her lymphoma returned.
But Zuma was not the only one fighting for her life. Young, who was born with cerebral palsy, is fighting breast cancer herself and found out just one day after Zuma's caner returned.
"I wasn't pretty. It was definitely a shock," said Young.
Zuma helped Young in many ways, such as opening and closing doors with a rope, hitting light switches, pressing elevator buttons, and picking up dropped items to name a few.
"She would totally get me undressed at night when I get off of work, which meant a whole lot because I can be more independent. I don't have to have help come in," said Young.
She says she believes Zuma held on long enough to help her get through a single mastectomy and some other procedures, but now as the moves towards chemotherapy without Zuma, her friends are looking for ways to help Young keep her independence and her spirits.
"What could we do to bring awareness? What could we do to get her story out there? Zuma was such a big part of her life, such a big help to her and to not have Zuma or someone like her is a real hindrance to Janie," said Ali Cato, a friend and co-worker.
Cato and others have launched a GoFundMe page. The site helps people and groups use the internet for fundraising. They are hoping to raise $10,000 to help Young get new service dog.
Bring paired with a service dog can be a long process at times, working through different organizations. One local group says it can take anywhere from one month--and in rare cases, several years--to complete the application, training and matching process.
Young's friend are hoping to skip that by raising the money needed to get a new dog on their own, and knowing her friends are willing to go to such lengths for her helps Young keep her attitude of there is nothing she cannot do.
Janie Young is a wonderful lady who doesn't let anything stop her. She was born with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair along with a service dog named Zuma. Janie has a full time job and is a constant inspiration to other people with disabilities. Within the past year, both of them were diagnosed with cancer. Zuma underwent treatment first and was well enough to support Janie as she went through her mastecomy. Zuma was everywhere with her - pre-op, post-op, and only left her side for the actual surgery. It appears Zuma knew Janie needed her during this tough time more than anything else. She hung on until Janie recovered from the surgery and back to work. Zuma then took a turn for the worse and passed away a week ago. Janie starts her next journey this week (chemo) without Zuma and without the hope of getting a new service dog anytime soon. There is currently a 3 year wait for a new service dog or $10,000 for a new one. We would love to get some support about this lady and rally the troups to get her the help she needs.
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