Team Luke Thomas Wills: Service Dog Fund

Meet one cute kid:..Luke Thomas Wills.  At eleven months Luke had his first encounter with anaphylactic shock.  We knew this existed but never thought it would happen to one of our children.

 Luke was introduced to his first bite of peanut butter and jelly.  That day changed his life forever.  We had absolutely no idea what was going on.  His face swelled so bad we barely recognized our own son.  Luke had scratches all over his face trying to communicate he could not breath, his airway was closing, and he was struggling, for his life.

After many tests and assessments we learned it was the peanut butter that caused this life threatening reaction.  Our world was changed forever.  We were in complete and total shock.  There would not be a day that went by that we we're in fear for our son's life.

Two weeks later we ended up in the emergency room again with Luke.  It was the same episode but this time it was eggs.  Luke has had eggs before!  We were so surprised.  We knew then it was time to see a specialist.

Our local doctor sent us to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital.  Luke had several tests ran on him.  We then learned that he was allergic to dairy, several other nuts, eggs, and shellfish along with viral induced asthma and eczema.  For most people it is hard enough living with one of the eight major allergies let alone living with four.

We had a lot to learn.  We read books, researched as much as we could on food allergies, stayed home as much as we could, cleaned our house from top to bottom, changed our eating habits, and basically reorganized our life.  Everywhere we took Luke was scary for us.

As Luke got older we were able to do more things but  we never let our guard down.  Eating out was always an adventure.  We had to make sure we wiped everything down more than once and then check with the manager to make sure Luke was safe eating at what few restaurants we could.  

We continued to follow up with our doctors in Iowa City. Sometimes we had a follow up appointment and other appointments were more rounds of specialized testing.  We thought for sure at one point that Luke was going to grow out of some of these life-threatening allergies.

February 7th, 2014 was Luke's most recent doctor appointment and tests.  We received more bad news.  Luke is allergic to more nuts and his allergic reactions have gotten worse.  The doctors were shocked at the results and wanted pictures of Luke's reactions.  We then learned that out of the thousands of children seen at this hospital, Luke is in the top ten worst cases seen.  Our hearts sank.  It was as if someone had let the air out of our balloon.  We were shocked, scared, and disappointed. 

We are tired of being silently scared for our son.  Tom and I have dedicated our lives to finding a way for Luke to feel safe and become more dependent.  What we have found is people don't realize that food allergies are just as dangerous as a terminal illness with the exception that death can result in a matter of minutes. 

After hours of more research we came across  websites for service dogs.  We found out that they actually have dogs that can sniff out different foods that people are allergic to. It was amazing to read all the different stories of success for allergy sniffing dogs.  Finally a possible light at the end of our tunnel.  

Service dogs are very expensive.  However you can't put a price on our son's life.  We have contacted several organizations, filled out applications, made phone calls, and organized fundraisers.  We are determined to make this happen for Luke.

Thank you for taking time to read Luke's story.  We want people to become more aware of food allergies and the seriousness of anaphylactic shock.  Any donation you could give to Luke's service dog fund could help save Luke's life.

Sincerely,
Tom and Ehren Wills
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Organizer

Ehren Messer-Wills 
Organizer
Keokuk, IA
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