A Service Dog for Lauren

My late husband suffered from Pulmonary Hypertension he was the third double lung transplant recipient worldwide as a treatment. He lived 13 years post transplant and we lost him 9 years ago at the age of 36. This I believed was the defining battle I would have in my journey as his wife and the mother of his children. When we buried Joe, I believed the disease died with him. I was wrong, as the year 2015-16 brought with it the same diagnosis for my then 16 year old now 18 year old daughter Lauren. She is a very gentle, kind and warm spirit with an intense connection to animals. Lauren is shy by nature and a natural musician. Pulmonary Hypertension is fatal. There is no cure. Without treatment life expectancy is 1-2 years. Medicine and treatments have come along way since her father was battling it. Today she is on a clinical trial drug called Remodulin that has drastically changed the course of her diseases progression making life expectancy better than it ever has been before. Remodulin is $15,000 a vial she uses 4 of them a month to stay alive. This drug with side effects equivalent to chemotherapy pumps through a line in her chest 24 hours a day 7 days a week. To explain day to day life for Lauren is hard because she is so brave. She has to change her medication every other day. This is a sterile procedure that takes a lot of time. Showering consists of several layers of barriers and waterproofing and dressing changes that takes her at least 2hours to accomplish and the amount of physical exhaustion this causes leaves her depleted in every way. In the beginning I did all of this for her as that first year was the hardest of my adult life trying to get her stable and manage side effects. Today she does everything by herself and she never complains. She longs to be independent and to go to college to become an RN that specializes in this life saving drug therapy and to provide hope to other kids when they are facing treatment. To date there are very few Remodulin nurses and the need is growing by the day. And despite her challenges and hospital stays Lauren has maintained straight A’s. And todays gift was her being accepted into Nursing School in San Francisco.
It was always part of our plan to get Lauren either a service or companion dog when she went to college. She is a loner and the comfort our dog Sadie has brought Lauren in these days is a hard thing to measure. We have concerns for her being alone in the dorm and she ceases to breathe. Another fear that has happened twice and she has nightmares about is her central line coming detached and waking up in blood without her realizing it.  The wait list for a dog is years.  We have found a trainer and possible dog and need to raise funds for this so she can start college in the fall. A dog that alerts if she stops breathing or is bleeding takes very specialized training. We have been turned down by every major or national organization.
I thank you for listening to an emotional request from a mother trying to give her daughter the best chance of success at being all she dreams of being. And who knows ….. wouldn’t be the first time my family was up against overwhelming odds .I refuse to accept that Lauren doesn't deserve the same kind of miracle.
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    • $365 
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Tracy Espinosa 
Lodi, CA
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