Service Dog for Gabriel

Gabriel is 19 years old, and has seizures.

Due to complications at birth, Gabriel had isolated seizures as a toddler. He went the rest of his childhood and adolescence without any seizures, as far as we could tell. However, in 2014, he was in the car with his family when a drunk driver caused an accident. Ever since the concussion he got from that accident, he has had seizures.

He has been diagnosed with complex partial and tonic clonic seizures. Most people know what tonic clonic “grand mal” seizures look like; it is when someone is convulsing. A person having a complex partial seizure is non-responsive and usually staggers until they drop on the ground in a tonic clonic seizure. Complex partial seizures alone are very serious, as police officers (along with others) can mistake the situation and seriously hurt people with these kinds of seizures. A person having this kind of seizure will resist arrest.

Despite being on medications, and his doctors trying different types and doses, he has continued to have seizures. When he does, they often occur suddenly. During his most recent seizure, Gabriel cut the back of his hand to the bone. Since this incident, it has become more urgent than ever to get Gabriel a service dog that is trained to handle his epilepsy.

A service dog trained to follow Gabriel when seizing will keep Gabriel safe from being misjudged. A service dog will also be trained to alert to a seizure. The dog can be trained to stop Gabriel from walking into a busy street. During seizures Gabriel tries to get up after he collapses. A service dog would be trained to lay across Gabriel to keep him from getting up, to avoid causing further injury to himself. There are so many things a service dog can and will do to help Gabriel to gain more freedom and independence by keeping him safe.

Gabriel’s parents invested in a dog to be trained as a service dog. This doberman pinscher Gabriel named Ruthless is a sweet dog who is already attentive to Gabriel over anyone else. Organizations have provided grants which would cover half of the cost of his training. Gabriel’s family cannot afford the remainder of the cost to train Ruthless.

Despite the setbacks of his disability, Gabriel has a positive outlook on life. He does not want to live in fear of his epilepsy, or let it stop him from living his life. He aspires to be a pastor, and to give back to his community. He has volunteered at the nursing home to preach to its residents, and spend time talking with them to remind them that their lives matter.

Gabriel and his family appreciate any amount anyone is willing to give, no matter how small. Please continue to share Gabriel's story.

Testimonial from Gabriel's mother:

Gabriel’s Story:

My son Gabriel is a teenager with a severe seizure disorder. He suffers from complex partial and tonic clonic (known as grand mal seizures). The day Gabriel was born was suppose to be a joyest day but instead it was terrifying and heart breaking. We seen our dreams and hope for our new baby fading. He was deliver by emergency c-section because he was dying.

God’s First Miracle in Gabriel’s life:

He was deliver with the cord tightly around his neck and had to be revived. He was immediately helicoptered to Children’s Hosptial’s NICU. My first time to see him was a picture. In the NICU he was put on life support and a cooling bed (which was new, at that time. He was one of the first 100 to use it as a trail) it was to stop his brain from swelling, due to the lack of oxygen. Through many people praying for him he survived and came home, and things seemed to be find for the first few days.

God did it again, Miracle # 2 in Gabriel's Life:

We thought the darkest days were behind us. But at 11 days old, being home for two days, I noticed he was crying a very week cry. I first thought maybe he is just tired. And really, what would the hospital say if I took a new born in because he was crying funny. But being a mom of 4, at that time, and the wisdom God gave me, I decided to take him to the hospital, anyway. As I laid him down to get ready, to my horror, he stopped breathing. I yelled for my husband to call 911. And started CPR. On the way to the hospital and being given oxygen the EMT’s thought maybe he was having an asthma attack.

Upon arriving to the hospital the nurses working on him, calling for immediate help from the doctor, our new born baby laid there lifelessly. I remember standing there praying, as I watched them desperately trying to keep him alive, asking God to once again spare Gabriel's life. Childrens hospital’s helicopter couldn’t come get him because of a storm. As we waited on a life support ambulance, the nurses and doctor were doing chest compressions and trying to ventilate him. To keep myself from falling apart I reassured myself, that he was still alive as long as the monitors kept showing a heart beat. I stood watching the monitor to avoid seeing the terrible things my new born baby was having to go through. Then to my horror the worse happened his heart stopped. He flat lined.

Would our baby live?

At this time only God knew. Our baby was dying in front of us. I left the room and found a quiet place to continue praying. Upon shortly returning I found Children’s Hospital had finally gotten there. But was it too late? They showed me a container of blood saying that Baby Gabriel had a lot of blood in his lungs, he was drowning. Okay, I thought they said he Is drowning that means he is still alive.  We were informed by the doctor that Gabriel would not make it. The doctor told us to call our family or anyone that wanted to see the baby alive, to get to the hospital as quick as possible. Our hearts sunk. We were to upset to drive so my dad drove my husband and I to the hospital. This was the longest drive of my life. I was afraid to get there and have to face what we were going to have to face and go through. Not never giving up on the power of God, I talked to him all the way there. He knew what I was going through. Strangely enough I felt like God was already there taking care of things.

So what was causing the blood in baby Gabriels lungs?

Greeted by a staff of doctors we were told again that Baby Gabriel was dying and wouldn’t last the night and there wasn’t anything they could do, but keep him comfortable. They had found a blood clot in his belly button from the IV he needed at birth. Due to the blood clot Gabriel’s blood was backing up in his lungs and not able to circulate to the bottom half of his body. He was put on all kinds of machines with tubes and wires all over the place. With many people praying, and not giving up on God, the doctors were surprise the next day to find that baby Gabriel was still alive. One of his doctors turned and said to me, “even though he is still alive, don’t get your hopes up.” “He lost to much oxygen, baby Gabriel will be brain died” “He has brain damage from the lack of oxygen, when his heart stopped and we can’t pick up any brain waves”. He continued telling me if our baby lives he will be on machines his whole life.

Modern day Miracle, yes God can still do miracles.

Knowing that doctors don’t have the last say, I knew, God raised Lazarus from the died so why couldn’t he do a modern day miracle? Each day baby Gabriel surprised the doctors and improved until they were referring to him as the miracle baby. Gabriel was finally released from the NICU and as a normal new born baby. The only side effect from this were hard fat cells, where his body started to stiffening in the dying process. Babies normally have soft fat, Gabriel had hard died fat cells all over his body.  This made it clear to the doctors that Gabriel had died and was a modern day lazarus. The doctors clearly knew it wasn’t anything they could do. When we went back for check ups, nurses and other doctors want to see the “miracle baby”.  We would end up with a room full of curious people wanting to see this baby that had died but survived death.  They told me they had never seen a person with hard dead cells, still alive. That it showed that the person had died and the body was stiffing up.  They had a name for it.

How did all of this affect Gabriel:

As Gabriel grow he was a normal child, he was funny, entertaining, he walked, talked, played like a normal child. At age 2 in the middle of the night I found Gabriel in a tonic clonic seizure. His seizure lasted over 20 mins. He didn’t have another one until age 5 after his twin sisters were born still. He had that seizure the day after their funeral. The doctors didn’t put him on any meds. at that time.  Saying he had seizures to far apart and they wouldn’t know if the meds were working or not, and that his seizure were most likely stress induced. At this young age Gabriel asked me why God saved his life several times but not his sisters. I said, “I don’t know, …”.maybe God has something he needs you to do.” Gabriel said, “what.” My response was, “I don’t know, that is for you to pray about and find out.” So later he comes back to me and says, “I know what it is, a preacher or missionary.”

What struggles did Gabriel have:

So years passed and things seemed find, other than the brain damage causing a lot of trouble in school with him not being able to learning. The school had given up on him ever reading or writing or learning much of anything. As Gabriel struggled to remember things. We decided to not give up on him. He was determined and hard working. We started homeschooling him. Through many long, long aggravating hours and years of hard work, along with Gabriel desire to learn, and not giving up, he is able to read. He graduated with a diploma. He didn’t let his disability stop him. Even with brain damage and a struggle to learn and remember things, he was able to graduate and get his diploma. His dream is to go to college. He wants to study to be a pastor, to help others. He has volunteered at the nursing home, visits with the church, helped in Junior church and continues wanting to use the abilities that God has given him.

What happened next:

In 2014 we were hit by a drunk driver. Immediately, Gabriel started having very bad seizures. Now with medication after medication and side effects, he continues to have severe seizures. They last over 30 mins. sometimes he has them back to back. He has been in the hospital for 3 days and continued having seizures after seizure during those three days. He would get out of bed when he went into one and fall. Then try to get up have another one and fall again. The seizures last so long it is hard to get him out of them sometimes.   His and our life has turned upside down. Each seizure could take his life. He doesn’t come out of them now until 911 gets to him and are able to give him a shot to bring him out of it. Our fear is it will get to a point they will not beable to bring him out of it. He has had seizure in restaurants, stores, in the car, in public places, and at church. Recently he had a very bad one, new years eve at church and badly cut his hand and is currently recovering from that and in therapy to get the motion of his hand back.

He isn’t able to be like other teenagers and have the independence to go places by himself, get a drivers license, nor can he stay home by himself. He has to always have someone with him. He is limited in what he can do. With the complex partial seizure and being able to walk unresponsive during them, before he falls down in convulsions, causes even more risk. Which makes them more of a threat to his life. Every place is a risk for him. He could walk out in traffic, he could be cooking and collapse, he could be taking a shower and hit the tub, we could be riding down the road and him open the door. The risk are endless. He loves to swim but if he ever has a seizure while swimming he would drown even with us there because he would swallow to much water. Another big risk for him is if he is ever seen walking in a complex partial seizure people would be unaware that he is having a seizure. Our fear is if he goes into a seizure and walks into someone they will think it is on purpose and try to fight him. This has happened one time when I was shopping with him for clothes. While my back was turned he walked off. Next I hear is someone yelling at him and getting ready to hit him because he bumped into them and kept walking. I had to run yelling “don’t touch him he is having a seizure, he doesn’t know what he is doing” People with these kind of seizures have been mistaken by police officers as drunk or high and have been seriously hurt for resisting arrest. With a service dog this would be one less thing we have to worry about.

How can a service dog help:

Just having the dog follow him during a seizure would make it clear he is having a medical problem. Also the service dog will be trained to lay on Gabriel when he has a seizure so he doesn’t try to get up and walk and keep falling. The dog will be trained to alert to seizures. There are so many things a service dog can do for him. God has blessed us with 7 children (and twin baby girls waiting for us in heaven) . Due to my son’s medical problems I have had to quit working for over two years now. So paying for a service dog’s training for our son is something God has to lay on others hearts. The Bible says, through God all things are possible and I have no doubt in that. After many hours, leading into months of research I have found the cheapest and quickest way to work at getting a service dog. We have started the process of training the dog and after many months of trying to raise funds for this, I have two wonderful organizations willing to pay half the cost. But without the rest of the money we will not be able to complete the service dog training.

How is Gabriel holding up:

With all that Gabriel has been through he never complains. If you ask how he is doing he will say “fine.” His older sister even bought him a shirt, you may see him wearing, that says “Im Fine” with blood printed on the side. One time he told me not to worry, if he dies during a seizure at least he will not feel any pain and he will just wake up in heaven. But there is so much he could do with his life once he gets this service dog. It would give him some independence, self confidence and freedom to pursue his goals in life of helping others.

How you can help? Glad you asked:

We feel God has a plan for Gabriels life, to have saved it so many times. Don’t you think? We want to help him succeed and involve others in Gods plan. First off I want to thank you for taking the time to read about the Miracles God has done in Gabriels life. If you feel God leading you to give, that is wonderful, rather it is $1 or $100 it is greatly appreciated and every bit helps. If you don’t have it to give, we truly understand, but please do share Gabriel’s story.

At the end it is all in God’s Hands and nothing is to big for God to handle. We are just allowing God to use us. And taking one day at a time. God does not promise any of us an easy life but he does promise us a place in heaven, forever.  If we just believe in his son, Jesus. Jesus came to die on the cross to pay for our sins, so we could have eternal life in heaven. And all God ask is that we except that he gave his son’s life for you. And by asking for forgiveness for sins and excepting this gift of salvation we all have hope in something better to look forward too. What kind of hope do we have without God and Jesus. I know I couldn’t live this life nor deal with the bad things others go through, without hope and faith that there is an easier and better place waiting. What a truly scary and sad world it would be without God.

To help me get the word out, it is greatly appreciated if you can share, like, and follow Gabriel's story to your Facebook. 

Thank you in advance
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Organizer and beneficiary

Barbara A. 
Waldorf, MD
Barbara Adams 
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