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Lifesaving, life-changing service dog for Charlie

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Hi! My name is Jacqui and I am Charlie’s mom. We live in rural Locust Grove in the beautiful Virginia countryside. We are in the process of raising funds for a very specialized service dog for a very special boy. This service dog will alert him to substances on surfaces, in the air, and in food undetectable to humans that are deadly to Charlie due to a severe medical condition.

Charlie was born with an unusual, life-threatening medical condition, an autoimmune eosinophilic disorder in which his body mistakes food particles in (or on) his body as germs, therefore, his eosinophils attack his digestive system (or skin) when he comes in contact with food. He also has extreme anaphylactic food allergies and both allergic and eosinophilic asthma. As a result, Charlie spent years suffering from life-threatening allergic reactions, vomiting throughout his younger days, and failing to thrive. When he was officially diagnosed at fourteen months, Charlie was tube fed for years and remained on medical formula made of amino acids as it was determined his case was severe. His body could not tolerate the simplest of foods for many years. Charlie lived on medical formula, water, and ice during those years. We carefully controlled his environment to avoid contact with allergens as skin contact was also a problem. Charlie had to undergo biopsies on a regular basis and n-g tube re-insertions almost daily when vomiting caused the tube to come out. He surgically received an abdominal g-tube to simplify his feeding and improve his quality of life to some degree. We are so grateful for the tube feedings, as they saved his life when there was no food safe for him for a long time, although Charlie still suffers from some of the after-effects of living a medical childhood that he was too young to understand.
 
 
 
 
Continuous allergy testing showed there were only a few safe foods for Charlie to try and there were some foods too dangerous to even test on him. However, by the age of six and with the use of steroids to suppress his immune system, Charlie was able to eat three meats (chicken, turkey, pork), vegetables, and a handful of fruits. This remains his diet today at the age of 13. He has come so far! His food is homemade, organic, and must be made without artificial preservatives or dyes. His bread is made at home regularly.
 
Charlie's Allergy testing - welts were so large they discontinued testing many foods
We have learned that Charlie can now eat a handful of "safe foods" that can sustain him, and we also have learned how to keep our home environment safe for him. No one in our home drinks dairy milk and I never use dairy products in cooking. We have discovered that dairy residue on a table surface (even days old) will blister his skin and cause an allergic reaction. Cooking food with dairy products that release steam into the air sends Charlie into respiratory arrest. Charlie has started on an immunotherapy now that he is old enough which is helping control the respiratory attacks that get out of control depending on the season; environmental allergens affect him as well. Dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, soy, fish, beef, lamb, banana, coconut... it goes on and on. The world is not a safe place in Charlie's eyes.
 
While other kids run outside to play and look for fun, Charlie constantly assesses his environment for deadly threats. Are there any food items present? Have other kids eaten anything lately that may still be on their hands? Is the residue on the ball? Is anyone going to touch me? Will it be dangerous? Charlie suffers from anxiety, and understandably so. He walks around public places with his hands in his pockets. When he encounters a public door he needs to enter, he will wait for another person to open it until he can go through it in case someone has touched it with an allergen on their hands. For a while, he wore gloves everywhere until he realized he got weird looks. He misses birthday parties and social events because they inevitably serve pizza. Charlie is triggered and has a panic attack if it's even implied he will have to enter a restaurant he's never been in and we have not already established a safety protocol with the management. He has had a very different childhood.
 
 
 
Charlie has had more trips in an ambulance than any child should. We fight to keep him engaged in life to avoid becoming afraid to go in public. He's has play therapy and currently participates in equine therapy. We take him to scouts, church, and homeschool classes and events where a safety protocol has been established with all of the adults. His preference is to stay home all the time. He is at risk of doing so as he becomes an adult unless we show him how to keep himself safe. No matter how much we prepare, desensitize, and take precautions, there just are some "invisible allergens" we cannot protect him from encountering. Some are more life-threatening than others. Some are deadly. But there is a solution for cases as severe as Charlie, thank God!
 
Allergen Detection Service Dogs located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, specializes in certified service dogs for children and adults like Charlie. These dogs are specifically trained to detect the "invisible allergens" of a specific person to alert the person exactly where they are so they can avoid the threat. Charlie would have a "bodyguard" with him 24/7 to let him know where the threats are so he could finally reduce his anxiety and think about something other than life-threatening problems. His service dog would also carry his medical bag that Charlie currently always has to carry (and sometimes misplaces). [Charlie suffered a brain injury from an accident while playing in 2017 which has affected his memory. Brain Injury Services of Fredericksburg has been a wonderful support to Charlie since 2019 when we realized his injury had some long-lasting effects beyond the healing period. BIS is also supporting this endeavor to equip Charlie with a service dog for which we are so grateful!]
 
Grants cover some of the cost of the extensive training and care these dogs undergo for 12-18 months. However, each family that receives a service dog is required to come up with the remaining $15,000 and an additional $3,000 for the two-week family assimilation training and additional expenses. We have saved for a year and sold some of our possessions to cover the $3,000. But we need to raise the $15,000 "copay" for this specialized service dog. The service dog agency does not collect the money directly due to tax liabilities, etc. Once half the money has been raised, they begin training Charlie's dog. We will need to have the full amount within twelve months.
 
Here is the website to learn more about the organization if needed. I hope you will consider donating to the cause as it will give Charlie a freedom he has never known and provide a means for him to have independence as an adult.
Website and contact if you would like to validate the cause:
8690 Wranglers Way
Colorado Springs, CO
 
Thank you again for taking the time to consider Charlie's cause. We pray that you and your family are healthy and blessed. Please add Charlie to your prayers for continued healing if you are a person of faith.
 
Have a beautiful day! Jacqui, Nathan, and Charlie, Isaiah & Rebekah
 
 
 
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Donations 

  • cheryl yopp
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 2 yrs
  • Kathaleen De Lucia
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Alice Williamson
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
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Organizer

Jacqui Wright
Organizer
Parker, VA

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