Eric was born with Horners Syndrome, a very rare disease. Each of his eyes are a different color blue, his pupils dilate differently, he only sweats on one side of his body, his hair grows differently on either side, it affected how his teeth came in... it's wild. We've been told the disease is caused by a nerve behind the eye that did not develop properly or fully in the womb.
Eric is now 31 yrs old. At 24 he started noticing a strange change in his vision. He could not explain it to us, only that something was not right. For years to follow, he just kept it to himself.
As a typical teenager working different jobs, he was employed by LOWES. After moving around different departments he transferred into the electrical department and he loved it. He loved it enough that he decided he wanted to become a professional electrician. He signed up with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) CA Union, and so they told him to wait for the call. He hung in there for 2 years, doing odd jobs when finally he got the call. At 27 he was becoming more concerned, scared and worried about his declining vision and finally, in 2015, he began opening up to us sharing how different and difficult it was for him to see.
As he continued to pursue his career as a professional electrician, working with the IBEW, in a 5 year apprentice program, he was getting closer to completing and becoming a journeyman, a bonefide electrician. He LOVED his trade. Unfortunately, with the steady worsening of his vision, not only was it making the job more difficult to see, but much more dangerous to do.
After many visits to eye doctors/specialists he was diagnosed with wet macular degeneration ("MD"), a disease that for most does not present until well into the age of 60+. There are some medical steps that can be taken to slow down the MD; a series of injections into the eye balls. Then, it was brought to our attention that there was an eye specialist, a sort of Super Man eye doctor, that specializes in MD, and so Eric went to see him. After 5 hours of testing, the doctor confirmed Eric's Horner's Syndrome and further informed Eric to have genetic juvenile Stargardt, another rare disease. The doctor sadly reported to Eric that as of today there is no cure for this disease, and with that deemed Eric legally blind and permanently disabled. It was a sad day. The specialist encouraged Eric to participate in the many projects that are now being done with stem cell research. Without hesitation, Eric is more than happy to participate saying, ..."if it won't be able to help me in my time, at least I know I'm doing something to help others at a later time."
Early February of 2016 he suffered his first seizure. After being under the care of a neurologist, he was placed on anti seizure medication and released back to work. His first day back on the job, he suffered his 2nd seizure where he fell into a pile of rubble, i.e., concrete, tubing, pipes, rebarb, etc. He cracked his head open. Fortunately a Brother of the Union was with him to help him get through it. After many other seizures and visits to his doctors, he was diagnosed an epileptic. An educated guess by the neurologist was made that possibly linked the seizures to stress, over stimulation and anxiety, but this is not confirmed. This would mean Eric could never have the privilege of driving a car again. And so he turned his car into the dealership. That was a sad day too. Still Eric's attitude was... "it's not the end of the world, lots of people are blind and still get around. And lots of people have seizures and live through them."It was just a tough lump for a 31 year old young man to process all at once. Horner's Syndrome, Stargardt disease, epileptic, lost his career, and drivers license revoked for life.
Eric continues to have a great attitude, he is optimistic for the future and his outlook on life. He is determined to be as independent as he can be. He is learning the public transportation system, and using Uber, and having such great friends and family to help him get around is a blessing. Still there are the epileptic seizures to deal with.
Eric is 6'2". If you are not familiar with epilepsy, they say, it's not the seizure that will kill you, but the fall. Eric has cracked his head open, has lacerated his face, has suffered neck and back injuries, all from the seizure falls. If he only had some kind of notice, a warning that a seizure was coming on. And then there was the Ahh-haaa moment. We learned that there are working seizure dogs that can give an epileptic up to 15 minutes notice that a seizure is coming on. Enough time for him to get down on the ground, out of harms way and "ride it out."
Service animals are very expensive, $10,000+. We could never come up with that kind of money ourselves. We are now retired parents living on limited incomes, yet, every extra dollar we can put in the coffee can at the end of the day towards getting a service dog for Eric, we do. And with that shared, we are now reaching out to You, respectfully, requesting donations of any amount. Anything is generous and we are so very appreciative. Your donations will help Eric get closer to having a support dog that will give him back somewhat of a normal, independent life. We know it will take some time to raise the money, but it will also take some time to find and develop the right service dog for him.
Please help us help Eric unite with a working seizure service dog for epileptics. If you cannot donate monetarily, no worries. We greatly appreciate your taking the time to read Eric's story, and perhaps you can help by sharing His story with others on your Facebook page. Of course there is always prayer. There is no price, there is no limit on how much of that you can donate. There are not enough words to express our gratitude to you, and our appreciation of you. You are now a part of Eric's journey to a new beginning for him to learn a new way of living. Thank you all.