One of the stories in Magical Dogs is about a mom, her eight-year old son and a dog named Roman.
James has type 1 diabetes. Until I met them I had no idea what that meant since I was familiar with type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 is usually discovered in adulthood. The person may or may not have symptoms before their diagnosis and can maintain a healthy blood sugar level through diet, insulin or medicine. It can also be prevented or delayed through a healthy lifestyle. This is the type of diabetes most of us know.
James has type 1 diabetes which is a whole different animal. Once known as juvenile-onset diabetes because symptoms usually start in childhood or young adulthood, it is often discovered when the individual becomes suddenly and seriously ill and seeks medical help. The sudden symptoms are caused by their blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) are common. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented.
I met James’s mom at the coffee shop where she works. There was a cup on the counter which simply said, “Donations for James’ Diabetes Alert Dog”. We talked that day, and in the coming months, we talked more ~ and I would learn more about type 1 diabetes, diabetes alert dogs and this family‘s journey.
Their journey, as is the journey of every person and family dealing with type 1, isn’t easy (as the post on the right points out).
Shari said recently, “There is always a chance that James could not wake up. This is one of the most stressful, scary and hardest things i have to deal with as a type 1 mom….putting my son to bed. This is why Roman, our diabetes alert dog is so important to us and our family. He will be another tool in helping James and us manage his disease.”
Roman, a black Lab, has been trained to alert James or his parents if James experiences a sudden drop. Roman will bring another level of safety and security to this family – and to James. Roman, as Shari wrote above, could help save her son’s life..
As a mother and grandmother, I can’t imagine the anguish and fear that must fill Shari’s heart and mind every night when she tucks James in. I know she is a woman with a strong faith which, I believe helps. But I want her, her family – and especially James – to have another level of comfort and help. I want to help them bring Roman home.
A diabetes alert dog takes a long time to train and, as a result, they are expensive. As any dog parent knows, once here there will be ongoing expenses (food, vaccinations, vet bills, training, etc). This family has been fundraising for a long time and they are finally coming down the home stretch with the final funds they need to bring Roman home.
I am honored to share their story (as well as the story of the woman training Roman) in Magical Dogs. I am also donating a portion of book sales from my first three local events to this family. My hope is to get them even closer (and maybe across) the finish line And for anyone unable to attend any of these events but would still like to help, please visit their GoFundMe page: James and Roman’s Go Fund Me page.
Together, we CAN bring Roman home.