CJ Alter

Posted by & filed under Make a Dream Come True.

Little CJ in need of seizure awareness dog

CJ_alterCJ is a very energetic little boy! He loves doing so many things; from hiking, fishing, singing to going to his karate class.  And he loves animals! Just the other day he helped rescue a little baby bunny from the window well.  One of his favorite things to do is sing country songs.  He also has a memory like you wouldn’t believe. He will hear a song on the radio one time and have it memorized and be singing it later that day.

I still remember the day CJ was born.  We were told after 18 hours of labor that we needed a C-section because his heart rate was dropping and his umbilical cord was only 7cms long.   When CJ entered the world I still remember the doctors taking him out and there was no cry.  They whisked him away from me and seconds later I finally heard his little cry.  For the first two months of his life he had constant respiratory problems.  We were always going to the doctor for breathing treatments.  After his third month he was diagnosed with Asthma.  His first year he was hospitalized 7 times, all for respiratory issues.  Due to all the hospitalizations he fell behind on meeting his milestones.  CJ did not crawl until he was 10 months old and didn’t walk until he was 18 months.  When he turned 2 years old we had many more tests done because we knew something was not right.  He would stop breathing for 20 seconds during the middle of the night and I was constantly checking on him and sleeping next to him.   We were told his tonsils and his adenoids would need removed so he could breathe better.  Thankfully, the procedure resulted in improved breathing.

By the time of CJ’s third birthday, he was starting to have emotional breakdowns for seemingly no reason.  He was very clumsy, constantly falling down and he wouldn’t put his arm up to protect his head.  He would just fall.  There were so many nights where my husband and I would wake up to check on him and he would be covered in vomit.  We thought maybe it was a flu bug.  However, it began to happen more often and he would do this silently, making it difficult to detect even when he slept next to us.  When he turned 5, things seemed to settle down and we were making great progress.  It was time for kindergarten to start and he was ready for the big day.  While at school he continued to have emotional breakdowns and sometimes stare into space.  We pulled him out of school and opted for homeschooling while we conducted more tests. 

This year CJ was diagnosed with Complex Seizures.  His seizures tend to occur at night and cause vomiting.  We sleep with a video-enabled baby monitor so we can see and hear if he is having a seizure.  Our biggest fear is not hearing him, making it possible for him to choke if we were not able to get to him in time.  We believe a seizure awareness dog would greatly help CJ in several ways.  The dog would be trained to alert us when he is about to have a seizure and act as a calming distraction during an emotional breakdown.  I myself have struggled with epilepsy my whole life and if I don’t get enough sleep I am able to have a seizure. Growing up, I never had the opportunity to have a seizure awareness dog. We want to protect CJ at the same time allow him to do the things he enjoys without the fear of a seizure.  This dog and new family member would be an answer to our prayer for CJ’s safety.  

It will cost 4 Paws $22,000 to place a dog with CJ. 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 the 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now). Include CJ’s name in the “instructions to merchant” through PayPal. Or mail a check with his name on the memo line to: 4 Paws for Ability, In Honor of CJ Alter, 253 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.

Thank you and God bless,

The Alter Family