A service and Medical Detection Dog

Hi all! My name is Sabrina Ward, I’m 16 and I’m a chronic illness warrior. I suffer daily from many chronic illnesses, including hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia Syndrome), Gastroparesis etc. 
Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is a problem with the collagen in my body. The 13 types are all rare inherited conditions with the hypermobile type being one of the most troublesome. It can effect many parts of the body including- joints, heart, skin, gastrointestinal system and urinary system (including kidneys). I was only diagnosed around 3 months ago but have been suffering since I was around 10/11. 
Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition that affects circulation (blood flow). POTS is a form of orthostatic intolerance, the development of symptoms that come on when standing up from a reclining position, and that may be relieved by sitting or lying back down. The primary symptom of an orthostatic intolerance is lightheadedness, fainting, and an uncomfortable, rapid increase in heartbeat. I also suffer with seizures from POTS. I have suffered at least severely for around 3 years. But again can trace back to suffering when I was around 10/11. 
I also suffer with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) which basically causes me to have random allergic reactions which can range from generally unwell and lethargic to life threatening anaphalaxis. I never know what I could react to next. 
I have been dealing with constant chronic pain for almost 7 years. I have good and bad day but for the past 18 months I have been in a sharp decline and getting extremely worse. I also suffer with gastroparesis which is the condition that has got significantly worse in the past 18 months. Gastroparesis is a condition which affects the stomach muscles and prevent proper stomach emptying. Since March 2018 I have been unable to eat anything at all without throwing up and I can only take around 250mls a day orally of fluids. In this time I have lost over 50% of my body weight, around 60kg or 10 stone and I’m not showing any signs of improvement. We have had to go private to get a decent standard of care which we had help with paying and I’m now awaiting surgery to place surgical feeding tubes and a central line to be fed directly into my bloodstream via TPN. 
The idea of a service dog started to sound like an amazing fit for me when I learnt it could be trained to warn me about medical events. I have seen other chronic illness warriors lives changed with service dogs who are also trained in medical detection. Here are just a few of the ways a service dog could help me!
     -the dog can alert family members if I pass out and try to wake me. It can even alert me before I get to the point of passing out
     - If I do pass out, the dog can go under my legs to raise them up so the blood goes back to my heart and brain which could help wake me up. 
     - the dog can alert me to when my heart rate is rising or if my blood pressure drops to prevent me from having an episode
      -the dog can act as stability for me if I feel dizzy
     - I also suffer with anxiety, if the dog would be able to be trained to prevent me having a panic attack. 
      -it could alert me to the early signs of anaphylaxis starting in my body so I can take preventative medications    
       -if I have a seizure the dog can help alert people and be trained to apply pressure when the seizure has finished to a)help me come round and b) hold me down as sometimes when I come out the seizures I can be upset or confused. 
       -I would be able to take the dog anywhere I go,( school, concerts, hospitals, doctors appointments, airports, anywhere!)
These are just a few things and ways a service dog could help me. I have had so many normal teenage things taken from me that others take so for granted, like hanging out or being able to attend school. Having a service dog won’t help me turn back time but will help me gain the independence I’ve lost through all this pain and suffering. Having a service dog won’t help me just physically but mentally. A new furry friend will bring much more joy and happiness into my life. 
We have decided a labradoodle is the perfect breed but unfortunately it’s one of the most expensive puppies to purchase. They have the qualities of the Labrador and poodle that combine to create not only a intelligent loving dog but a perfect addition to any household. 
A service animal would not only be a huge help to me but also to my single parent mum. She worries so much about me and having a helper that can keep me safe wherever I go would be a huge relief. It would provide a feeling of safety and comfort for us both. 
Whether is £1 or £10, any donation is immensely appreciated!


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Sabrina Ward 
Worksop, East Midlands, United Kingdom
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