Service Dog to help save a life

My name is Marissa and I am a 23- year-old, college student. My life has been in turmoil for the past two years. Due to my health issues, I don't get to experience the normal life of a college student. 

I knew things were going to change drastically when I had to give up my love of playing fastpitch softball. I began playing when I was 7-years-old. Softball was my escape from everything. My dream was to earn a scholarship to play at the collegiate level. I played my freshman season but that's when my health began to decline. I was confused, in disbelief, and traumatized. Eventually, the answers would come but none to my liking. 23959084_1507570481.1806_funddescription(The photo above was taken at stagecoach before I got an actual diagnosis of what I had. I couldn't even enjoy a concert because I ended up throwing up and then fainting.)

I was recently diagnosed with POTS. POTS stands for postural orthostatic tachycardia. POTS is a form of dysautonomia which means there is a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system and there is no cure. POTS causes chronic fatigue, lightheadedness, dizziness, sensitivity to heat, and so much more. There are times where I can only stand under my own power for several minutes. POTS also causes fainting which I experience several times a week. As you can imagine, this poses a danger on so many levels. Thankfully, I have yet to hit my head. I am home alone most of the time. There are days where I’m unable to get out of bed and there’s no one around to help me get to the bathroom, or get something to eat or drink. The only way to alleviate my symptoms is to rest. As of right now I don't get to enjoy going to my college sports' games, being apart of clubs at my school, or enjoy fun activities the campus hosts. 

I’m also pre-diabetic so I struggle with my blood sugar levels. This has caused a condition known as Insulin Autoimmune Syndrome. Many times I don't even know/feel when my sugars are at dangerous levels. I experience fatigue, shakiness, unresponsiveness, fainting, and seizures. I am terrified that one day I will be home by myself and I will have a seizure or even become unconscious for a serious amount of time. 

That wasn't all of it either. I also have Fibromyaligia which causes chronic pain in different parts of my body along with other symptoms. I am currently still undergoing tests for other disorders/diseases I may have. 

After discussing this with my doctors and my family, we decided that a service dog will be very beneficial for me. It will help me gain back some of my independence and make daily activities and routines better for me. I will always have a helper by my side. The dog will be trained to alert me when my blood sugar starts to drop in order to prevent the unthinkable from occurring. The dog will also be used as a mobility service dog which means it will be able to help pick up dropped items, do retrievals, and help me walk and get up. Also, the dog will be trained to alert me to different changes in my blood pressure and alert me before fainting spells happen so I can get to a safe place to faint. Those are just some of the tasks the dog will be taught. Having a medical-alert/mobility dog will also make me feel safe and put my mind at ease. It will also make my family feel safe and feel as though they won't have to worry as much when I am by myself. 

Although, this never stops me from staying strong and pushing through!!!

I’ve had to put many things on hold and just getting to my classes is one of my greatest challenges. Nevertheless, my biggest goal is to finish school and graduate! I am majoring in Communications and minoring in Criminology because one day I hope to train police dogs or service dogs for others in need. I have a strong desire to help others and I love dogs. I want to achieve a variety of things in life but I won't be able to without the help from a service dog. 

Like most college students, finances are tough for me. Service dogs are expensive and the best way for me to gather that amount is by fundraising. So I am asking for your help to gift me with my four-legged, guardian angel. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and donating :)

Please watch this video it does a great job of explaining about POTS! Remember, not all disabilities are visible.

* Any extra funds will be used towards vet care,  dog food, my medical care, and more. 

These are just some pictures before I developed health issues. 

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Marissa Sacco 
San Marcos, CA
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