My name is Ashley and I am twenty-one years old. I am a college student working on a degree. I live with my boyfriend in Bowling Green. But let’s back track a little. Just before I turned sixteen, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I was in the Intensive Care Unit for three days and nights at my diagnosis because my blood sugar had reached a level of 717 and I was in ketoacidosis. For those of you unfamiliar with diabetes, my normal range is between 90 and 120. I could have very easily gone into a diabetic coma. I took on the care of my diabetes on my own from the get go, doing everything myself and asking for little help. One year after diagnosis, I went on insulin pump therapy, which brought my blood sugars to a healthy range. After experiencing severe and frequent low blood sugars, I began to have anxiety over my sugar readings. Not only was I obsessing over checking my blood sugar, but I was also having what I would describe as “mini panic attacks”. I would frequently turn down friends to go out and do certain things because I didn’t want to leave the comfort of my own home with my diabetic supplies needed. I would often think “what happens if I run out of supplies outside of the house?”, or “what if I get low in public?’. I didn’t even get my driver’s license until I was nineteen because the anxiety scared me away from driving on my own. As time went on, the anxiety grew worse and I found myself checking my blood sugar at least twenty times a day. Again, for those of you not familiar with diabetes, the average amount is four to six times per day. Test strips are not cheap. Each strip costs roughly one dollar. Having to buy at least one hundred extra test strips each month is not something that is in a college budget, and I didn’t want to continue asking my parents for money for more strips. I was ashamed, like I was doing something wrong. But I couldn’t stop checking. If I didn’t check my sugar and see that number on the screen, panic set in. A few months ago, I began taking anti-anxiety medication to help with this issue. It did help a bit, but I still have an uncomfortable amount of anxiety and panic over my diabetes. I also still test on average 12 times a day. My goal is to get off of my anti-anxiety medication and test no more than 6 times a day. Meeting these two goals will allow me to live my life normally; well, as normally as a type 1 diabetic can.
To do this, I need to get a Diabetic Alert Dog (D.A.D.) to help with my daily living and diabetic care. Most people have never heard of Diabetic Alert Dogs, so I will tell you a little bit about them. These dogs are truly amazing. The first thing that they learn to do is sniff blood sugar. This dog will alert me if my blood sugar is falling too low or rising too high, eliminating the anxiety over bad blood sugars and also eliminating the need to frequently test my sugar. In addition, this service dog can be trained to bring supplies that I need to me in the case that I cannot walk due to shaking and dizziness because of a low or high blood sugar. The dog could retrieve things such as insulin, glucagon kits (for extreme low blood sugar cases), blood sugar meters, and/or juice from the kitchen to treat low blood sugars. There are times that I am using the walls to hold me up on the way to the kitchen because I am feeling the low so badly. The dog will eliminate the danger of that. Finally, the dog can call for help. It will bark uncontrollably until someone comes to find me in the case of an emergency, such as being passed out or having a seizure. Hearing that a dog could do this for me instantly gave me chills. My biggest fear and anxiety is having something happen to me and having no one around to help. This is my biggest need for the Diabetic Alert Dog. As you can see, this canine helper will do a great deal for my life and will improve my quality of life so much.
However, this service dog comes at a steep price. The company I am getting my DAD from is called Dreys Alert Dogs. They are located in Jasper, TX and their dogs cost $15,000. I also have to raise money to travel down to pick up my dog and stay for the 3 day training. On top of that, I hope to raise enough funds to get the initial supplies for my DAD and have a back up fund for medical emergencies. I have estimated that I want to raise $17,500 to $18,000 as a total! I have put my $1,000 deposit down and my little princess was born on May 13! I have posted a collage of pictures of her! This program is the best I have found and it is AMAZING that they cater to Ohio. Not only will I be asking for donations on here, but I will also be working my butt off to hold fundraisers in my community! If you choose to donate online, PLEASE leave your name and e-mail (where provided when donating) so that I can send out thank you's after my goal is met! I want to know who is helping me! :) Donations can also be sent directly to me in the mail and put towards my goal. If you would like to donate directly to the me rather than sending it through this website first, please let me know. Also, their is the option of donating directly to the organization. To do this, you can contact me for instructions. You can e-mail me at DADforAshley@gmail.com. Any extra money raised after the goal is reached will be used toward upkeep of the dog such as food and grooming expenses, as well as vet bills.
Throughout this letter, I have bolded some words that play on a diabetic's mind each and every day, 24/7. For me, that is in overdrive because of my anxiety. You can help me put my anxiety to rest by making a donation to my cause!
As you can see this dog will make quite the difference in my life. I am asking you to please help me in helping myself have a better and easier life dealing with diabetes. Every little bit counts and anything you have to offer is much appreciated. If you have any questions or want to know more about my story, you can send me an e-mail at DADforAshley@gmail.com. Thank you in advance for all of your help! I truly appreciate it.
I also ask that you "Share" my cause on Facebook, "Pin It" to Pinterest, "Tweet" it on Twitter, and post this wherever you think it might help!! You can do this on the sidebar on my page toward the right! Also, if you are interested in volunteering for fundraisers I will be holding, please e-mail me. Thanks!
Help me make my dream come true!
You can also find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dadforashley