Haleigh is in need of a service dog to assist her in her daily life. However, due to Haleigh's unique type of epilepsy, she would need a very specific dog that meets her very specific needs. The dog that checks all those boxes has been found and he's right here in Birmingham. This dog has already graduated the service dog program being trained in mobility and PTSD service and he would be ready to seizure alert train with Haleigh, without a waiting period, which is rare! So we need to move as quickly as we can friends, to be able to get Haleigh the dog she so desperately needs in her life. Please read her story below:
One night in December 2015, my then 12 year old daughter, went to bed a normal, healthy, happy 7th grader on Christmas break. The next morning would change our lives forever and the diagnosis would be Epilepsy. Over the next four years her seizures would evolve and it would be a revolving door of multiple specialists, hospital stays being poked and prodded for test after test, loss of independence, and every aspect of our lives being revised to care for Haleigh. Here is what we have learned over the last four years:
Haleigh has intractable, or medication resistant, Epilepsy. She will not grow out of this condition. She has two types of seizures: Right frontal lobe and Reflex. The right frontal lobe seizures come at night and can quickly begin to cluster, meaning they come one right after the other. If she can recollect having 2 or 3, she's most likely had in the neighborhood of 18 to 20. Her reflex seizure is to startle, so think of having a seizure anytime something would catch you by surprise or make you jump, e.g. unexpected loud noise or movement. Haleigh has spent the last three years undergoing a battery of tests to determine if she would be a good candidate for brain surgery. Unfortunately, most of her tests have come back with "inconclusive" results, meaning the doctors have been unable to locate the exact origin of where the seizure begins in her brain. There is one more test to go through before the door to surgery is closed, this invasive test is called Stereotactic EEG (SEEG). The process is to drill tiny holes into her brain and place electrodes in there to try and better locate the firing point of the seizure activity. If they are unable to locate where the seizures begin, she will no longer be a viable candidate for surgery.
We will never ever give up trying to help our daughter have a normal seizure free life, but in the meantime we have to play the cards we have been dealt. This illness has taken so much from her already - freedom, confidence, independence, self-worth, friends, social life and the list goes on - and has replaced it with fear and anxiety. Haleigh has anywhere from 1 - 4 reflex seizures daily, on average. When she has these while standing, she is sure to fall if she's not caught because she cannot speak or control her body. Haleigh has already sustained countless bruises and scrapes from her falls and has had two concussions within the last couple of months. This service dog would be able to detect her seizure, block her fall and assist her to the ground. He would also stay with her until she felt comfortable enough to return standing and/or fetch her phone on command if she needed to call for help. This would enable Haleigh to regain a sense of freedom, independence and most importantly self-confidence. She would have this confidence knowing that she has a "buddy" with her at all times watching her every move to make sure she's safe and protected. Haleigh's other seizures come at night. These types of seizures have the characteristics that make her high risk for SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). If Haleigh begins to have seizures in her sleep (which can and does happen randomly - not every night) the service dog can alert us that she is actively seizing so that we can intervene.
We are humbly asking for your help to be able to purchase this much needed service dog to assist our daughter in living the most normal life she possibly can. No amount is too small - anything given is greatly appreciated. Thank you, in advance, for reading our story and considering donating to our daughter's situation.
- Barbara Ehrlich
- Barbara Ehrlich
- Sandi Stolle
- Samantha Estis
Fundraising team (3)
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