Since that devastating day for our family on January 19, Cole's seizures have dramatically increased and we had to transport him via ambulance to the hospital because of a 2 hour seizure - something that hasn't happened in several years. We are seeing old seizure patterns return unfortunately, and the only thing that has changed in his medicine and treatment routine is Slugger's absence. Cole asks about Slugger every day and is still trying to process his loss. He also asks, "How many days?" until he can get a new dog to help him.
Slugger was not only Cole's service dog during the last 6 years, but he was also his best friend and only brother who stayed by his side. He was a huge part of his daily life and was with him through thousands of seizures, multiple hospital visits and ambulance rides. They attended school together and he comforted him in his most scary and painful moments. Slugger was also there with Cole when he experienced new environments, met new people, and learned new things - all potential seizure triggers for Cole.
Cole suffers from Dravet Syndrome - a rare and catastrophic form of intractable epilepsy that begins in infancy. Dravet Syndrome impacts every aspect of his life because this syndrome is extremely hard to treat and changes all the time. Cole has more than eight different types of seizures. He had his first seizure when he was six months old, and will continue to deal with this diagnosis for the rest of his life. We have traveled all over the country from Salt Lake City to Miami to Seattle, New York City, DC and beyond - trying to find the best treatments for him.
At this time we are traveling to New York every three months to see his doctors. He has failed more than 20 different medications and treatments, and causes even the most experienced professionals to scratch their heads in wonder. Even though we have made great progress in the last couple of years, he still has seizures every day.
We moved far away from all of our family and friends so that Cole could access the best educational programs and medical care. We will never stop fighting to improve his quality of life. Cole has many side effects from all of these seizures, and even with multiple talented therapists he is still very delayed, but he surprises us every day. We will always want to give him anything that can improve his quality of life, which is why we got Slugger about 6 years ago thanks to the generosity of many of our friends, family, and caring individuals we had never met.
We didn't ever think we would lose Slugger this soon and so unexpectedly. The last few weeks have been scary without having Slugger, and we are scheduled to get another seizure assistance service dog for Cole in 2019.
The money we raise here will allow us to pay for travel expenses during the 2 week training when we are matched with Cole's new best friend. Any additional funds will go toward Cole's many ongoing treatments, therapies, doctors appointments, and medical bills.
We know that Slugger is waiting for Cole at the Rainbow Bridge and will be happy to see his boy being taken care of once again by a faithful companion. Thank you for your kindness and for caring about our special warrior. Please share Cole's story with your family and friends.
- Stephanie Tennyson
- Kylee West
- Stacie Greff
- Annette McKeag
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