Bethany Draves is a sweet, sassy, imaginative, and very artistic 15 year old young lady. She likes to draw, sew, work on her and other people's hair, and write stories. Her drawings are AMAZING!!! She made the one that is the banner on this page. She enjoys anime, reading, loves Captain America, and Nintendo Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Her current playlist on her iPod includes: Skillet, Kalafina, Owl City, Paramore, and La Roux.
Although she looks like a normal teenage girl on the outside, she has had her share of troubles and needs some help. In 2003, she was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD, something she inherited from her father. This has made school a challenge and has been a source of angst for Bethany since school began. Unfortunately, it was only the start of her challenges. In 2006, her mother had two small strokes. Fortunately they were small, but it took heart surgery to make sure that it wouldn't happen again. This left Bethany shaken and fearful because her father already has a number of medical issues that had resulted in 28 surgeries to date including heart surgery. The uncertainty of a child's parents' health at such a young age is always a source of great stress. They are usually the rock that a child stands upon until they are ready to stand on their own. Much to everyone's dismay, Bethany's own medical problems began at the age of 12. She began with stomach issues that took over a year to diagnose. She had her gallbladder removed last year, but she was subjected to doubt about her condition even from teachers who were not very understanding about her condition and the number of days she was missing from school. Needless to say, this has left her very self-conscious about talking about her condition and trusting others. To make matters worse, the medicine she was on for her anxiety and depression stopped working how they were supposed to. The physical issues seemed to be fixed and now she had to deal with the mental side of things. Just recently, she started developing more pain in the abdomen. After a month of testing, doctors discovered that she developed a 4 cm ovarian cyst which burst just recently. With all of these issues, Bethany has become quite withdrawn and is easily panicked outside the safety and comfort of home. Some thought that she was just trying to get out of school, but even a recent trip to an amusement park left her panicked mid-way through the day and wanting to leave. She is now attending school part time and slowly working her way back into public, but it has been a difficult journey.
We have been working with many doctors, including psychiatric doctors, to help Bethany deal with her issues. One of the things we came across was how dogs can help people with not just physical issues, but with emotional issues. A psychiatric service dog is just like a service dog for the blind or deaf. They have the same legal status and protections as those service dogs. A psychiatric service dog can help a person keep to a routine such as waking up, taking pills on time, and getting out doing activities like exercising. They can also be trained to recognize panic attacks and other abnormal behavior and perform actions to draw the owner back to reality or move them to a place of safety. If this sounds like a lot of training, you are correct. Service dogs are not cheap. After doing our research, we have found that service dogs can cost anywhere from $10,000 or more. Our family loves dogs. We have a Shih Tzu/Yorkie mix and a rescue Greyhound (they are attached to us). So, we know that there are monthly and yearly costs with taking proper care of a dog. Since our family has had a myriad of medical issues over the past years and I have been out of work for the past year and a half, paying for a service dog is just not feasible at this time. Jen has just finished her teaching degree and hopes to find a job teaching in an elementary school. I have just started a part time job at a small private Christian school as their IT administrator, but our finances are very tight. That is why we are here. We have found a trainer, a vet and a breeder. Now all we need is the money. We hope that there are those out there that would see this as a worthy cause to help our daughter. The costs calculated will pay for the dog, training and vet bills to get Bethany through college. We are looking at $7,500.00. The money will go into a special account for Bethany to draw from to take care of the dog's needs.
We sincerely thank you in advance for considering helping us in this goal. Just the fact that you are reading this and support others on GoFundMe, shows that you are already a very giving person. God has been very good to us and we trust Him to see us through all phases of our life.