Help Celia Get a Service Dog!

$1,169 of $12,000 goal

Raised by 20 people in 8 months
(Since GoFundMe acquired/merged YouCaring, this GoFundMe fundraiser is a migration from my YouCaring fundraiser page - which had been up since January 2018.)

(For transparency, as of 12/19/2018, I've created a branch campaign specifically for a FB life-bettering request group with a maximum request amount - all funds raised there will be manually noted here through offline donations.)

My name is Celia Torres.
I am 21 years old. I was born and raised "in the sticks" of Interior Alaska, just outside of a tiny town. I love video games, movies, anime/Japan, gardening, animals, writing, researching, and music.

I used to be a very active person, but nowadays, the majority of my time is spent recuperating in bed, or at my desk writing or consuming media. Long story short, I became very ill over the course of my life, with a big kaboom when I turned 19.

The longer story is that I was born kind of sickly, coming into the world at 29 weeks. I spent the first two months of my life in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), where I stopped breathing more than once, and allegedly a nurse caused permanent damage to my intestines due to repeated overfeeding. This has caused chronic GI issues for me.

I grew up kind of a weird kid, not speaking almost ever at a young age (even though I could), and I soon realized the world was way too loud and way too bright as well. As a toddler, I was glassy-eyed when extended relatives visited, and looked haunted when people tried to interact with me. Events (like social changes, big plans shifting, normal arguments, etc) affected me very strongly. I started to have episodes of uncontrollable outbursts, or moments where I'd shut down and be unresponsive. Words like epilepsy were tossed around, but eventually ruled out. Coupled with all this and a rather tumultuous childhood with a few bad cards, I was soon accurately diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and autism spectrum disorder as a teenager.

When I hit middle school, a previously uncomplicated asthma problem started to become a bit more complicated. Things slowly but surely snowballed, but didn't appear to be serious until late 2016. All at once, at the same time that I moved out of my parents' house and was writing my resume to enter the workforce, I started to have a rash of episodes of allergic reactions and anaphylaxis, resulting in many Epi-pens and ER visits.

Then, one day, I noticed myself limping. My leg wouldn't stop hurting. My feet were cold. I became out of breath just climbing half-flights of stairs. My heart rate when standing or walking became insane, and I started to faint occasionally. I soon lost the ability to walk safely, then at all. And in just a few days, I went from a temporary cane, to the ICU.

Two years of battle for diagnosis of mystery symptoms and unexplained issues ensued. Along the way, I fought for a wheelchair that I was able to successfully fundraise the down payment for, and it has greatly increased my level of mobility.

Finally, I made it to the Mayo Clinic in April 2018, got the workup of my life with a wonderful team of doctors, and got some answers.

I have been diagnosed with POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a form of dysautonomia), fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, chronic pain syndrome, functional neurological disorder, chronic fatigue, chronic rhinitis, chronic cough, chronic urticaria, chronic GI issues, and vocal cord dysfunction.

What this all means is that on a regular basis, I can and do experience pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, coughing, shortness of breath, dizziness, difficulty coordinating muscles, muscle freezing/seizes, brain fog, tachycardia, cold pains, heat fatigue, low blood pressure, hyperadrenergic states, and much more.

I cannot continuously stand for longer than 5 minutes, and at my very best, I can use forearm crutches to walk the length of my living space. I have asthma-like symptoms triggered easily by sudden cold, by allergens in the air, car exhaust, artificial scents, and air pollution (forest fires, frequent wood-burning, sometimes even just grass particles from mowing). I easily faint in the heat, and it becomes very hard and painful to move in the cold from my muscles becoming too tense from the temperatures. If I use more energy than I have (which is little already, compared to a healthy individual), I faint quite easily, become dehydrated, and become so fatigued that I am bedbound for anywhere from a few hours to days. These are just the hearts of the issues some of my illnesses can give me daily.

Because of all of this, my personal level of ability has been diminished quite a bit, and I am disabled. I'm frequently stuck at home, and so I do my best there, keeping my mind active with video games and what basically amounts to Wikipedia source binges. I occasionally livestream myself playing video games and interacting with viewers, I make crafts to sell, and I keep a journal on Instagram to stay healthy mentally, raise awareness on my chronic illnesses, and offer a bit of an inside look on disability. In 2017, I volunteered with Dysautonomia International to successfully have my mayor declare that October is Dysautonomia Awareness Month in my town. I bust my butt with physical therapy at a local clinic and at home, even if I'll never be 100% again, and I make the most of it.

However, my doctor, my family, my friends, and I have all agreed my life would be vastly improved by having a service dog. Honestly, I have been looking to get one since I was 16 for autism and PTSD, and obviously my need has increased greatly since then.

I'm in my early 20s and I really want to see the world. I can occasionally do things like go to short local concerts, but not without a bunch of prep before, and a long recovery period afterward. Going to the Mayo Clinic in MN put me out of commission for over a month. I frequently cancel fun stuff with friends or family I'd like to have held or gone to, but cannot due to my energy levels or the cost it will have on my energy levels. I cannot leave the house by myself - sometimes I cannot even cook for myself.

This service dog would do for me what I cannot do by myself: deep pressure therapy / grounding techniques to prevent or slow overloads or panic, lead to an exit in disorienting place, body blocking, turn off/on light switches, open/close doors, pick up things I cannot reach, help me sit up and move during bad pain days, retrieve rescue medication, alert me to tachycardic episodes or syncope (fainting), look after me if I've lost consciousness, potentially go get help, wake me from nightmares / night terrors, reduce anxiety, redirect harmful stimming, calm me down during an overload, help me transfer from chair to any surface, provide mobility aid when I work on my walking ability or need to get somewhere a wheelchair cannot go, and much more. My level of ability, freedom, and independence would skyrocket. A service dog can and will change my life.

I am now working with  Olde World Bullies Specialty Services (who are supplying both the puppy and the training services, etc), who I originally met through a Facebook group. Where other organizations have let me down, these guys from Minnesota have committed. I trust them greatly, and they have quoted me $12,000. This is a very good price for a service dog, as much larger organizations can ask for anywhere between $20,000 and $65,000! Not only that, but I am going with OWBSS because I have been burned before by organizations who have either repeatedly promised to take me on as a client before abruptly changing their mission, or poorly organized groups who have promised to try to help me, before disbanding entirely. The aforementioned groups have kept me on the hook waiting for a year or more, more than once. Furthermore, most bigger orgs target primarily veterans or children, or prefer a third person to be your team handler, or only train a dog in one area of tasking types per person - where I am in need of multiple task types (mobility, autism, psychiatric, cardiac alert), I am neither a child nor a veteran, and I need to be fully independent and handle my dog myself.

$12K will cover:

- a bully breed puppy from established, healthy, and trusted bloodlines. (This is the breed I am comfortable and experienced with.)

- vet care: preliminary shots, genetic screening, joint testing, etc

- complex training: socialization, familiarization, important task training, etc

- custom gear, such as a sturdy mobility harness, a vest, collar, etc

I am asking for help getting these funds, as I cannot work a normal job due to my condition. I feel this dog will really set me free and allow me to live a much more independent life.

Thank you very, very much for your time, and thank you for reading my story.

To go along with this, I am also offering an idea myself and my roommate had: To anyone with a business or anyone who is a public figure with influence - if you sponsor my fundraiser with a donation or a boost to an audience, I will get a patch made of your logo to go on my future service dog's vest, and advertise or recommend you to anyone who asks.

I also run a small business - a 3D printing service, Onigiri's Sweet Shop. It can be found on Instagram and Facebook at the same name ( https://www.instagram.com/OnigirisSweetShop and https://www.facebook.com/OnigirisSweetShop/ ), or emailed at OnigirisSweetShop@gmail.com. Right now, 50% of all sales go directly into my service dog fund.

-- If GoFundMe is too finicky to work with, my direct PayPal link is https://www.PayPal.me/CVT97 --

The people I'm working with:  Olde World Bully Specialty Services (Teresa McCullar, JJ Jackson, from Minnesota)

My previous fundraiser: https://www.gofundme.com/4jelhyw

My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/voicemyself

For more information on some of the conditions I talked about:

Autism spectrum disorder: http://autisticadvocacy.org/about-asan/about-autism/

POTS: http://www.dysautonomiainternational.org/page.php?ID=30

(What is dysautonomia?: http://www.dysautonomiainternational.org/page.php?ID=34 )

Fibromyalgia: https://www.fmcpaware.org/aboutfibromyalgia.html

Myofascial pain syndrome: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/myofascial-pain-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20375444

Functional neurological disorder: https://fndhope.org/ , https://www.fndaction.org.uk/ , http://www.neurosymptoms.org/
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Meet Mochi.

She's about 2 weeks and change, and weighs 48 ounces today. She's a blue piebald American Bully, daughter of service dog Only Zuul from Olde World Bullies Specialty Services, and she's my service dog prospect. Drumroll... She's coming home to me May 26th! ❤️ It's all finally happening! ❤️

This has been the wildest journey of my life, and you guys have been super supportive of it all through the ups and down, sharing and donating to my SD fundraiser, and it's now an exciting reality that's just weeks away. My life is changing again for the better. ❤️

Now it's crunch time! I'm just $106 away from my first soft goal (deposit) of $800. It would mean the world to me if you kept sharing and spreading my fundraiser. You guys rock, and I'm so very, VERY excited!

As a reminder, I offer 3D printing services through my small business @OnigirisSweetShop and right now 50% of all purchases go directly into my dog fund. I also have been writing, reading, and critiquing poetry as a hobby for close to 9 years, and don't mind taking a look at your work if you'll toss me a few dollars. ❤️

Ask any questions you have, and I'll answer them to the best of my ability! ❤️
+ Read More
Some info on the Sire (dad half) to my prospective future Service Dog puppy: This is Only Zuul. Zuul, associated with Olde World Bullies Specialty Services (OWBSS), is bred from a USAR search and rescue, bomb/powder detection, perpetrator apprehension, and performance driven sire. He's highly driven to please, has started scent tracking, and is phenomenal with disabled individuals with special needs, and while visiting veterans' homes. He's also a rock solid multi-tasking service dog handling crowds of 10,000 by 2.5 years old, and never missing an alert. OFA/DNA is pending. As Teresa McCullar​​'s service dog, he has already saved her life multiple times by detecting oxygen saturation levels, heart rate, blood pressure levels, doing mobility work for her, and more. These are some of the same tasks I will also be utilizing in the future with my SD. Zuul's presence and persistent work ethic even convinced Teresa's doctor of health issues that were previously under stressful scrutiny.
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TW: death. If you guys are still following me on here, you should know that the mother of the pair my trainer and I agreed on (posted on my Instagram) passed away today in a vehicular hit and run. Please keep her owners and the father in your thoughts today. You can see the posts OWBSS made about it too on their Facebook page, linked in the fundraiser description. Thank you for your time. <3
Zuul & Evie.
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$1,169 of $12,000 goal

Raised by 20 people in 8 months
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