A Companion Dog for Braeden

Dear Family & Friends - 

As many of you know, my good friend Erin has a son, Braeden, who was diagnosed a year ago with PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infections). It’s about as bad as it sounds. A strep infection that led to inflammation in the basal ganglia region of his brain causing a host of terrible symptoms such as: pain, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and severe anxiety.

The impact on Braeden & Erin’s daily lives has been massive. Braeden, now age 13, has been unable to attend school for the last year (7th & 8th grades) and requires intensive treatment and therapy. Treatment includes long-term antibiotics to eradicate the strep; steroids/prednisone to reduce inflammation and infusions of intravenous immune globulins (IVIG) to “re-set” his immune system.

The side effects from the medications can be brutal. Braeden transformed from a 100-pound, high-energy kid who loved cross-country running to a 138-pounder who struggles to walk around the block. He's missing out on the daily life of being a teen, going to school and seeing friends.  

The past year has been an incredibly difficult time, both physically and psychologically, for the whole family as Erin is a single mom with her own health issues. Luckily, he is now receiving home occupational & physical therapy as well as rehab counseling to help him continue to recover and eventually return to school. Braeden’s doctors think a companion or service dog would really accelerate his recovery. He was on the waitlist for a service dog, but soon learned it would require a 2-3 year wait, travel to CA, and fund-raising $27,000!  The more logical and immediate solution is to purchase their own dog (from a special breeder) and have the dog locally trained to become a companion animal. 

A companion dog could make all the difference right now in Braeden’s recovery by:
(1) Giving him something positive on which to focus.
(2) Providing much needed comfort & companionship. (3) Motivating him to get outside, gain his strength and reintegrate back into the life of being a teen!

So, I am starting this Go Fund Me campaign to crowdsource funds for the purchase of a dog (~$4,000 for appropriate breed from a special breeder) and complete companion animal training (~$5,000 over two years). I am raising these funds on Braeden's behalf and then will use them to purchase the dog and pay for the companion animal training as described above. 

This family deserves some support. Please join me in making this a great holiday season for Erin & Braeden by making a donation to Braeden’s companion animal fund! If a donation is not feasible, please take a quiet moment to send them some love and healing energy to help them get through this difficult time. 

Happy Holidays and may the new year bring health and happiness to you and your family!

Elin Björling
Seattle, Washington

To learn more about PANDAS

How companion dogs help people with chronic illness:

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Elin Björling 
Seattle, WA
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