Funds for Zido, My Service Dog

Hey there!
My name is Courtney and I am a junior at the amazing George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. It's fantastic. Seriously. If you're looking for a college to call "home" Mason is the way to go. Anyway, I am a Media Communications major and a Criminology minor as well as the President of the Mason Ambassadors, the group that gives tours of our campus to prospective students (if you couldn't tell from my enthusiasm about the school). I am having the time of my life at school and I have met some of the most amazing people I have ever known during my time there. Outside of school, I work as a barista at a local coffee shop called Cervantes where we roast and brew single origin coffee for our customers. It is an adorable little place in Springfield, VA and I highly recommend the coffee (also the employees are pretty cool too). I'm also a bible study leader for high school girls at New Hope Church and for 2 years I've worked for Friends of the World War II Memorial where I interview veterans at the memorial to document their stories.
Now that's enough about me; let's get to the cutie we've all come here for. That beautiful lab is named Zido (pronounced Z-eye-doe), or "Zee" for short, and he is about to become the best thing that has ever happened to me.
For the last 10 years, I have lived with a progressive neurological disease that results in me losing consciousness for extended periods of time. I've been working with neurologists from some of the best places in my area, but sadly they have never seen a case like mine. We know that part of the disease can be attributed to POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) but that's not the whole thing. They have also diagnosed me with Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathy, but again that's not specific enough for an exact diagnosis. So to sum it all up for the last 10 years I have been in the Sea of Waiting for an official diagnosis so that I can start to move onto the next step. As much as I would love a name, though, mostly I just want to live a normal life. I want to be able to go out and not worry about fainting embarrassingly in front of all my friends (trust me...it's happened...it's the definition of a buzz kill). I want to be able to live on my own and not fear what "could" happen. Shoot, I want to be able to stand up without almost passing out. My doctors and I know that whatever I have, it's permanent. It's not going away. Ever. So...enter Zido.
Little Mr. Zee will be able to alert me about passing out long before I ever feel like I'm going to through his super-dog sense of smell. It's crazy right? I mean this dog can SMELL my heart rate! WHAAAAAT? Yeah, let that sink in for a second. I am receiving him from an amazing organization up in Pennsylvania called Canine Partners for Life, where starting in October I will go up for 3 weeks to train with my man before bringing him home in November.
I met Zido the other day, and the best way I can describe it is that moment you meet someone and you know that no matter what, no matter who comes into your life, no matter what crap you go through, they will always be by your side. It was like he said "Hi. You're my human. I'm your dog. I will love you forever and I will take care of you for always." And even if you're thinking "I mean, can this dog really alert you to something like that?" I'll just say that Zido alerted me to a migraine that I was having the second he came out to greet me. A little late because I was in the throws of the migraine, but hey it's the thought that counts right?
I'll go into more detail later about the actual awesomeness of this dog, but for now I wanted to give you guys a glimpse of what my future will be. I won't have to question if something is happening. I won't have to worry about ever being alone. I won't have to fear standing up ever again. For the first time in 10 years, I'm going to be able to really live.
I need to raise $4000 to pay for Zido, his supplies, transportation, lodging, food, etc. for the 3 weeks that I am in Pennsylvania from October 10-November 3. If you can give I would deeply deeply appreciate it. Like I said, I'm a college student and money is not something I have an abundance of. I will be working both jobs to pay for him as well, but I could use all the help I can get. If you can't give any money, that is completely okay but I just ask for your thoughts and prayers as I head into my new life with Zido.
Thank you so much!
Also check out my blog http://zeeandmee.blogspot.com
Love and blessings,
Zee and me :)
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Organizer

Courtney Simmons 
Organizer
Springfield, VA
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