Sarah is an outgoing and fun fifteen and a half year old girl, trying to get her way through life and attends a mainstream high school in Victoria.
The thing is, Sarah is challenged with severe epilepsy
and has countless seizures every single day
, which as a result has caused significant learning difficulties and also requires her to have an aide with her at all times at school, and at home Marie, her amazing mum has to be with her every moment. Now for a 15 year old girl, having someone shadowing her 24/7 cannot be fun. Sarah's school aide is required to shadow her in every area of her day, from her going to the bathroom, while she is with her friends, and sits with her in her classroom.
Marie is a proud single parent, busting her backside daily to provide the best she can for her daughter. However, as a working mum her employment doesn't always coincide with school hours, therefore on most days, Sarah is required to have a carer look after her until Marie gets home, in case she has a seizure and becomes unconscious (this has happened many times). Sarah sleeps next to Marie every night, due to the severity of her siezures and the dangers of sleeping alone. In the morning, Sarah has continual seizures, therefore Marie needs to give Sarah her medication whilst in bed. It takes Sarah 45 minutes for her medication to have some sort of effect, and for her to safely be able to get out of bed without falling and injuring herself. However, no matter the amount of medication Sarah has, neurologists still cannot find a medication that reduces her seizures. Currently Sarah has anything between 5 to 100 seizures per day, which has caused detrimental effects on her self esteem and undoubtably her brain and body.
Living with epilepsy has had so many challenges for Sarah and her mum Marie. Specialists have worked for many years trying to reduce the amount of seizures Sarah has in a single day, and for the last few years, she has been on the priority list to become a participant in a new surgical trial where a team of specialists 'operate' on the areas of Sarah's brain where her seizures take place.
Sarah would love to have the independence and freedom that all her peers have, however this cannot be done without the support I am about to ask of you.
In Victoria, the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) has become available to Sarah, however they have refused on many occasions to provide Sarah with an epilepsy trained dog. NDIS do fund these dogs to other participants, but for Sarah they have denied Marie's desperate pleas. Marie knows that an epilepsy trained dog can give Sarah the independence her 15 year old daughter needs and deserves, she knows that she could then rely on her dog at school and loose the stigma she has by having an aide following her throughout the school, she knows that she could leave Sarah at home for that one hour and if Sarah does have a seizure, the dog will be trained specifically to her needs and will perform the task it needs to, to maintain her airway and essentially maintain her life.
Marie is a life long friend of our family and I look at Sarah as an extra child of mine, I would simply do anything for them. And because of my love for these two amazing people, I want to help them by raising the much needed funds to purchase Sarah an Epilepsy trained dog. I have done some extensive research and had conversations with companies that provide these dogs to participants, and upon having the financial investment, Dogs for Life can begin working with Sarah immediately to create a a trusting working relationship with a suitable dog.
If you can spare any amount, large or small, because it all adds up, I would be forever grateful. Seeing Sarah build some independence would be such an amazing outcome for not only herself and Marie, but for everyone that knows how restricted Sarah's life is currently.
Link to Dogs for life www.facebook.com/cstda/