At the age of 2, Lucas, was diagnosed with Autism and Speech Apraxia. More recently, he received a diagnosis for anxiety, depression, and a sleep disorder. It has had a profound effect on our family’s day to day life. Because of this, we have chosen to pursue a service pup to help make life a more manageable for all of us.
As a baby, Lucas was quiet and content to just lay there. As a first-time mom, I didn’t think anything beyond him being an “easy” baby. The one consistent issue was the be choked whenever he would try to eat or drink. After being hospitalized with pneumonia at 1.5, a swallow study was recommended. The various studies resulted in intensive speech/occupational therapy Despite the intensive therapy schedule, we saw little to no progress on his development mile stones.
When therapy yielded no real results, our pediatrician referred us to a neurologist. A two-hour evaluation finally gave us some clarity on what we were facing, Autism and Speech Apraxia. Our amazing therapists had prepared us for this possibility. We were lucky to have so many people helping us find various services and support. With a diagnosis in hand, we dug our heels in and hit therapy head on. It was slow going but Lucas started gaining words! While he was making progress, it was still incredibly difficult for Lucas to communicate and his frustration grew leading to explosive episodes that could last for hours.
Lucas is now 5 years old and is in his last year of preschool. He absolutely loves school. His teachers adore having him in class and say he is a model student. While this makes my heart soar, it’s also absolutely crushing to hear. Lucas could be the poster child for Delayed Effect. He has become so good at hiding his frustrations and stressors, that his teachers sometimes forget he actually has Autism. Unfortunately, as soon as he leaves school his emotions overwhelm him. It’s like dropping a Mentos into a freshly opened soda, the car door shuts and the screaming starts. Once he knows he is in his comfort zone, every single trigger from the day comes spewing out. This is one of many things we hope to ease.
Lucas is also an eloper. He will wander at any time given the chance. Living in a river town, it’s always in the back of my mind that he could wind up being the next news story of a child drowning after wandering from home. We have turned our house into a veritable fortress, but the worry is always there. When struggling with his emotions Lucas tends to bolt away from caregivers, headless of danger. This has led to some very scary incidents in parking lots and roads. His meltdowns are difficult to predict and being able to make it through a quick trip to the grocery store with him would be life changing.
Most recently, Lucas was diagnosed with a sleep disorder, which he is now on medication for. Of all the things we’ve dealt with so far, this was the most sensitive for me. We never wanted him to be permanently on medications, and while it has been helping, it’s still a tough one for me. He operates on two to three hours of sleep a day, and it makes him almost impossible to manage. He wakes up in the early morning hours and wanders the house. Even securing the house as thoroughly as possible, there is still always a potential that something serious could happen, so I am usually up with him. It is our hope that a service dog can act as another safety net.
4 Paws For Ability
In Honor of Lucas Sumpter
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, OH 45385
This is our beautiful 5-year-old angel, Norah Bailey. Norah was born on July 12, 2014 and suffered a massive stroke around the time of her birth. The stroke damaged the entire left side of Norah’s brain causing partial paralysis of her right side, gross & fine motor difficulties as well as developmental delay. She began therapy at 5 months old and up until the age of three, saw multiple therapists 3 times a week.
Shortly after Norah’s third birthday we began noticing some odd behavior that began as an unusual stare. The look soon evolved into a terrified stare accompanied by a strong burst of stiffness and labored breathing. We were terrified. The neurologist soon confirmed that Norah was indeed experiencing seizures – something that was not uncommon given the traumatic brain injury she suffered at birth.
Norah battled with seizure control over the next two years as her episodes began to worsen. At one point she was having up to 12 per day and even experiencing seizures through the night. There were many triggers: unexpected sounds like buzzers, doorbells, knocks on the door, loud voices, clanging of dishes, sneezing, coughing, yelling, pretty much ANYTHING would send her into a seizure. The seizure would then leave her exhausted, confused and she would often scream out of fear and beg to go to bed. She was suffering.
After two years, 7 medications and 4 neurologists we made the gut-wrenching decision to go ahead with brain surgery. This rare type of brain surgery, known as a hemispherectomy, is only performed about 50 times per year in the U.S and only under extreme circumstances in order to reduce the occurrence and severity of seizures. It was our last hope.
On Sept 5, 2019 Norah had brain surgery at Comer’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago and she spent 9 days in intense recovery. She has not had a seizure since.
Surgery has changed Norah’s life. She is a completely different child, who for the first time ever is getting to live life. Although she still has major deficits to overcome and her seizures may return, she has the determination to get through it all. She is loving, caring, funny and her personality really shines! She will soon start therapy to learn to walk and next Fall she will be starting kindergarten. We are working hard to prepare her for BOTH big milestones in her life and are certain a service dog would be life changing.
Last fall our son heard about 4 Paws for Ability at school and he came home excited to share the information. After looking into the organization and seeing how they place service dogs that are trained to alert of seizure activity, assist with mobility issues and redirect behavior meltdowns, it gave me hope. We applied to the 4Paws program and were accepted. We are now on a journey to raise the funds for Norah’s life changing canine companion. Service dogs cost around $50,000 to breed and train. 4 Paws takes care of most of that fee but asks that each family raise $17,000 toward the cost of their dog. We are reaching out and asking for your help in achieving our donation goal.
Any contributions made to help Norah would be greatly appreciated.
If you can help Norah, please visit the 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now). Please include Norah’s full name on the donation as instruction in the “Description” field of the form on the second page of the Authorize.net donation. Donations can also be made by mailing a check with Norah’s full name on the memo line to:
4 Paws For Ability
In Honor of Norah Bailey
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, OH 45385
Thank you for taking the time to read about our princess. She truly is a miracle! 😊
Hi! I’m Brady Wooten and I’m 11 years old and I’m in the 4th grade at Florence Elementary School in Florence, MS. A little bit about me: I love my Roomba vacuum cleaner, chips and cheese from El Cabrito, Paw Patrol anything (recently, Super Wings), my family (Nana and Poppy first, then the rest of them), my teachers (school and church), all police officers and firefighters, a handful of close friends, and just about any animal I meet, except for bugs.
I have had seizures my whole life; my first one when I was just 3 days old. I was diagnosed with infantile spasms when I was 3 months old and received daily injections for months to get those under control. Some of my seizures are noticeable, but some are not. Some even happen when I sleep. I also have a visual impairment that makes it hard for me to judge depth perception, so I’m a little bit clumsy. I’m also on the Autism spectrum, which is a fancy word for I’m just a little different than most people. Basically, I like my routine, about 6 food items, I don’t wear itchy clothes and I don’t like loud noises (unless it’s me making the loud noise).
Recently, my mom applied for a service dog for me and we were chosen to receive a service dog from 4 Paws for Ability! This dog will be my best friend. It will play with me when I want to be alone but not really; it will walk beside me and make sure I don’t fall down, and my mom is most excited about it telling her when I’m having a seizure. I am going to brush its hair and feed it. We will go for walks and play in the backyard. My mom said that it will even get to go to school with me. I can’t wait for it to ride the bus with me!
My mom said we can get the new dog when we raise the money for it. I gave her all the money in my piggy bank, but she said it’s not enough. Do you think you could help me give my mom some of your money? Well, not my mom, but 4 Paws for Ability at 253 DAYTON AVENUE, XENIA, OHIO 45385. You can send them the money directly or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/donate/1062721800728485/ (that’s a lot of numbers)
Thank you for your help! I can’t wait for you to meet my new dog!!!
4 Paws for Amelia
Hi! We are the Kilby Family, and we would love to introduce the sweet little monkey we call our daughter, Amelia. Amelia, or Amy for short, is the sweetest two-year-old that we know! She is full of smiles when she’s in the right mood, loves the tickle monster, and adores anything made of yarn. Amy has also been diagnosed with autism, global development delay, pervasive sensory disorder, and speech delay.
As you can probably imagine, this kind of dedicated training isn’t cheap. 4 Paws funds most of the $40,000-$60,000 with the family only responsible for $17,000. Insurance refuses to cover anything relating to the cost, so we’re collecting donations for this amazing tool to help Amy, and any little bit helps!
4 Paws For Ability
In Honor of Amelia Kilby
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, OH 45385Thank you and have a wonderful day!
Sarah J. Kilby
Hi, my name is David Waldon! I am 3 years old and a very happy and energetic little boy! Despite my appearance, I have a lot going on medically that most cannot see. I have been through so much in my short life and still face a lot of challenges. I am looking to get a service dog through 4 Paws For Ability to help me gain more independence and provide me comfort and support throughout my journey. The dog will also be able to alert my mom and dad if I have seizure.
I was born 3 months early and faced a long and difficult NICU stay. During the NICU stay I faced typical preemie problems of gaining weight, learning to feed, breathing on my own, and maintaining my body temperature. I also faced other complications ranging from neurological to respiratory and feeding. My problems have continued since the NICU and have led to numerous hospitalizations (including PICU stays) and medical procedures/surgeries.
Neurologically my problems are very complex. I suffered severe brain bleeds in the NICU known as intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH). These led to hydrocephalus, periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), and cysts within my brain. PVL is a fancy term for the death and decay of the white matter in the brain. I was also lacking a major structure in my brain, a corpus callosum, it connects the two halves and helps them communicate normally. The hydrocephalus led to me needing major brain surgery to place a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt. The shunt helps the excess fluid in my brain drain and it leads it to drain within my abdomen where it is absorbed by my body. I developed epilepsy and cerebral palsy from all the brain damage as well. My cerebral palsy is considered moderate and affects all four of my limbs.
The cerebral palsy creates a lot of other problems for me. I am developmentally delayed in all areas putting me at roughly 9-12 months motor skill wise and 18-24 months speech wise. These complications also cause me struggle to eat and drink the way a normal child would and I had to have a g-tube placed to provide me with all the food and nutrients I need. The g-tube is a feeding tube surgically placed to allow food, nutrients, and medicine to be directly given to me through a small port in my abdomen and directly into my stomach. I am 80% dependent on my tube and even receive all of my medicine through it as well. Hypertonia (increased muscle tone) affects all of my muscles especially with my arms and legs. The hypertonia makes my leg muscles so tight that I need leg braces known as AFOs to help me keep my feet flat on the ground and to work on weight bearing. My spine is also starting to curve and develop scoliosis from all of the increased muscle tone.
My lungs create a whole lot of issues. I was born with very sick and underdeveloped lungs. I spent weeks on a ventilator and at points needed so much breathing support that I needed to be on a special ventilator called an oscillating ventilator. All the extra breathing support led to what is called bronchopulmonary dysplasia(BPD), or also called chronic lung disease. The effects of breathing support and BPD still cause respiratory problems today whenever I catch even the common cold. I generally end up hospitalized at least four times a year, sometimes more, as a result of respiratory complications from colds. I was also born with a congenital lung malformation known as congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation (CCAM). This affected the left upper lobe of my lungs and eventually led to me needing that portion of my lungs(the top half of my left lung) to be surgically removed.
A service dog would be a huge help for me! The dog would be trained to help provide me support and stability as I continue to learn how to stand and walk. The dog will also help me out when my muscles get tired from the cerebral palsy and I have to use my wheelchair for support and getting around. The dog will help me open doors and retrieve things I may drop while I am in the wheelchair. I will also receive comfort and love from the dog during scary and uncomfortable times including medical procedures. They also will train the dog to help alert my mom and dad when I have seizures! This could potentially save my life by allowing them to get me the needed medical attention quicker.
4 Paws For Ability is going to help me make get the service dog I need!! It will cost them $40,000 – $60,000 to train the dog for my needs. They are only asking that I come up with $17,000 of the cost. The cost is not something that my family can come up with on their own so we are asking for donations to help reach our goal. I kindly request that all donations be made directly to 4 Paws. Checks should be made out to 4 Paws For Ability and the memo line needs to include my name David Waldon. I have included a donation form and addressed envelope where you can send the donations to. If the envelope gets lost, the address is:
Molly is a ten-year-old girl who has been dealing with the effects of an unknown disease since November 4, 2009. On that day, Molly, a normally happy active baby girl woke up unhappy and seemingly tired. It was mere days before she turned nine-months-old and she wasn’t yet talking. We couldn’t ask her what was wrong, so we took her temperature – it was normal – and told the babysitter she seemed more tired than usual. By that afternoon Molly could neither sit nor stand and she was in tremendous pain. The next morning she was paralyzed from the waist down.
The next 5 years were filled with travel to consult with countless doctors, genome sequencing, biopsies, and therapies. Molly now has an agreed upon diagnosis that doesn’t quite fit, Transverse Myelitis, but is everyone’s closest guess. No one knows for sure though, so we are left watching, waiting, wondering, and dealing with the results.
Molly is a fighter. She has fought back from paralysis to sitting, to standing, to taking a step, and then to walking with assistance. She is the first person to show concern for others and the first person to work to make sure everyone is included. Unfortunately, she herself cannot keep up with her peers anymore due to her reliance on her crutches and a wheelchair. As a result of this, we are raising funds through 4 Paws for Ability to provide Molly with a service dog to help her with her balance and mobility. The cost of training a service dog is between $40,0000 and $60,000 and 4 Paws for Ability asks that each family raise $17,000 of that cost. We are asking our friends and family to consider a donation to 4 Paws for Ability in Molly’s name. Every single donation to 4 Paws will help towards our goal. We kindly request that all donations be made directly to 4 Paws for Ability in Molly’s name (https://4pawsforability.org/donate-now). Please include Molly’s name in the description line of your donation. If you prefer, checks can be mailed directly to 4 Paws for Ability at: (Please include Molly’s name in the memo section of your check.)
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Molly Wright
253 Dayton Avenue
Xenia, OH 45385
Thank you for your consideration,
Doug, Sharon, & Molly Wright
Luca is a bright and beautiful eight-year-old boy. He is very friendly, open, and loves to be of help. He delights being in the outdoors and using his limited verbal communication skills to play with other children in the community. He loves to look at his books in his room. He loves nature and is more comfortable outdoors than anywhere else.
The Autism Spectrum Diagnosis
Luca was diagnosed with Mild to Moderate Autism in 2012. Mom, Kathleen, explains: “This has caused a total change to our family and we are educating our family members to the best of our ability. Luca struggles to cope with the world around him and the turmoil inside. His motor planning disorder means that he is often unable to verbally express the thoughts in his head.” Luca is enrolled in speech and occupational therapy, which are helping, but he really struggles with some sensations he encounters from the minute he awakens. Everything from wearing appropriate clothing and brushing his teeth, to the sounds of his home and family around him, even the appearance and order of objects in his environment create impediments to his ability to function. He can be easily overwhelmed and upset. When that occurs, Luca frequently runs away without regard to his safety. He has run into traffic, water, and other hazards.
How an Autism Assistance Dog Will Help
Having an assistance dog to partner with Luca would be life-changing–providing independence, security, and comfort. A service dog will help keep Luca safe by using a tether when hand-holding is overwhelming for him. The dog will be trained to alert to his parents when Luca bolts and runs away and will be trained to track him. His dog will be taught behavior disruption techniques, which could provide calming sensory input, interrupt or redirect inappropriate behavior, provide familiarity in unfamiliar circumstances, and be a friend that can walk with him through the anxious circumstances of his life. His dog would assist Luca in attending more family functions and activities rather than having him isolate himself.
4 Paws for Ability
“Our family chose 4 Paws for Ability because it started the Autism Assistance Dog with search and rescue ability and is the largest organization providing Autism Assistance Dogs to children with no minimum age and no geographic restriction. It costs 4 Paws more than $40,000 to raise and properly train a service dog with our son’s specific needs in mind,” Kathleen noted. His family is committed to raise $17,000 in support of the 4 Paws mission. The money will go directly to 4 Paws for the purpose of helping them care for and train his life-saving dog. 4 Paws can be seen in action in Episode 1 of “Dogs” on Netflix.
How You Can Provide This Life-Saving Gift
If you can help Luca, please visit the 4 Paws Donation Page (http://www.4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now). Include Luca’s name on the donation as instructed in the “Description” field of the form on the second page of the Authorize.net donation. Donations can also be made by mailing a check with Luca’s name on the memo line to:
4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Luca DePinto
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, OH 45385