In 2014, when she was 11 years old, Kayla Ellis’ life was changed forever. After being rushed to the emergency room and spending three days in ICU, Kayla and her family learned that she has Type 1 Diabetes – an incurable but treatable autoimmune disease in which the body destroys its own insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
The Ellis family hadn’t known anyone who had this disease, and everything was new for all of them. How will Kayla’s friends feel? What would they think? What food could they keep in the house or should they keep OUT of the house? How will Kayla’s medicine get here? Where will they keep it? This disease affects the daily routine of Kayla and her entire family. Type 1 Diabetes is definitely a way of life: changes in diet, remembering to check blood levels, remembering to administer insulin or set a pump to administer insulin, taking Kayla her medicine pack at unexpected moments, reading food labels, extra planning for vacations.
We are happy to say that today, Kayla is thriving and healthy and fully supported by her friends and family as she lives with this illness. After the initial learning and adjustment period, after trying a few methods of insulin-administering, Kayla and her parents have learned how to manage the disease. However, every night, Kayla runs the risk of having her insulin get out of control. To monitor and address drastic changes in her sugar, Kayla’s mom gets up throughout the night to prick Kayla’s finger (this doesn’t even wake Kayla up anymore, she’s so used to it) and test her blood. Just a few weeks ago, a 10-year-old girl died at a sleepover from complications of Type 1 diabetes. This is the fear that Kayla and her parents go to bed with every night.
There is a solution that’s available for Kayla (and her mom). Kayla has been researching service dogs specifically trained for this need. In her research, Kayla has learned that the cost of a service dog is between $18,000-$20,000. Her parents have agreed to let her raise the money, so that she will have the peace of mind she needs and deserves. This dog will change life for Kayla and her family, Kaylas dog will know how to wake her in the middle of the night when her sugar drops dangerously low. If she does not wake up, her dog will alert her parents by either barking or licking. Kayla’s service dog will allow her to have independence and peace of mind. When Kayla goes away for college in a couple of years and eventually moves to live on her own, she will be have her dog and not have to be dependent on anyone.
Kayla hopes to have the money raised by this time next year to start the process that will join her with her service dog. The dog will specifically trained to meet Kayla’s daily needs.
We would be so grateful for any help on Kayla journey! Any money that is left over will be donated to finding a cure for Type1! Kayla and her family will be walking in the JDRF walk this weekend. #kaylascure
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