Bella Surles is a vibrant, super creative 7 year old that can light up a room with her personality. She also struggles daily with an invisible illness, type 1 diabetes. On November 22nd 2013 she was admitted to the Children’s Hospital at Providence for Diabetic Ketoacidosis, a complication of Type 1 diabetes. Her blood sugar had soared to almost 1000. That day was the beginning of a life time of finger pokes and insulin injections for our little girl.
Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong chronic disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks and kills the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. These cells, called Islets, would normally sense glucose in the blood stream and produce the appropriate amount of insulin needed to maintain normal blood sugar levels. Without these cells there is no insulin, without insulin the glucose builds up in the blood starving the rest of the body. If left untreated high blood sugar can cause damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart, and can also lead to coma and eventually death. Insulin therapy is the only treatment available to Type 1’s at this time…there is no cure. Insulin therapy comes with many challenges. It is not always possible to know exactly how much insulin to take, many outside factors contribute to her insulin needs on a daily basis. Food, stress, illness, exercise, climate all change her insulin requirements. These factors fluctuate greatly throughout every day. So, deciding on what dose of insulin she is too take is a complicated balancing act. If she takes too much, then her body burns too much glucose – and her blood sugar can drop to a dangerously low level. This is a condition called hypoglycemia, which, if untreated, can be potentially life-threatening. If she takes too little insulin, her body can again be starved of the energy it needs, and her blood sugar can rise to a dangerously high level — a condition called hyperglycemia. This also increases the chance of long-term complications. One of our daily biggest fears is a severe hypoglycemic event during the night. Because of this very real possibility Bella’s blood sugar is checked one to three times throughout the night. This makes true sleep very hard. During a 24 hour period Bella checks her blood sugar with finger pokes 8-12 times. She also currently wears an insulin pump. The pump works in two ways: In a steady measured and continuous dose (the “basal” insulin) and as a surge (“bolus” extra amount of insulin taken to cover an expected rise in blood glucose) dose, at your direction. Doses are delivered through a flexible plastic tube called a catheter. With the aid of a small needle, the catheter is inserted through Bella’s skin into the fatty tissue and is taped in place. The catheter must be replaced every 2-3 days depending on her needs. Bella’s disease is often very unpredictable and because of that she suffers from frequent lows and highs.
What we are seeking is a diabetic alert dog for Bella through 4 Paws for Ability. Diabetic alert dogs are scent trained to alert parents/caretakers of impending hypoglycemic (low) and hyperglycemic (high) blood sugar events. This dog would help Bella sleep through the night without fear of going low, allow her to play unattended safely, comfort her, and reduce her long term risk of future complications. Having this dog would be immeasurably valuable to our family. 4 Paws for Ability is a non-profit organization that trains service dogs for children and disabled vets.
It will cost 4 Paws over $22,000 to place a diabetic alert dog with Bella. We are committed to raising $13,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission and can reach our goal with your help. If you can help us with a tax-deductible donation, please visit 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now). Include the name, Isabella Surles in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with her name on the memo line to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Isabella Surles
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, Ohio 45385
Thank you and God bless!