The Walther family is raising money for their daughter, Jana Walther, to receive a seizure alert service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. Jana suffers from unexpected seizures that have forced her to give up the activities and independence she enjoys. The Walther family hopes that Jana having a service dog to alert her and her family of seizures and comfort her in adversity will be the next step in helping her to regain independence. The family has raised $3,337 of their $17,000 goal and would like to ask the community to donate to their cause.
Jana is a very active member of church and youth group as well as a cooking, baking, equine, and dance enthusiast. These are all activities she loves but have been adversely affected by unexpected seizures, which can arise at any time. A service dog can give Jana warning of seizures and comfort her when they occur. A service dog is especially vital for Jana at night if she were to have a seizure in her sleep. Seizure alert service dogs are trained to alert the family so Jana can receive the help she needs. The Walther family truly believes that Jana and her dog will be “better together” and truly change their lives.
If individuals would like to donate to Jana’s cause, they can see her Facebook fundraiser “Tara’s Fundraiser for 4 Paws for Jana” at https://www.facebook.com/donate/668532200729420/ (Individuals are also able to send a check directly to 4 Paws with Jana Walther on the memo line to 207 Dayton Ave., Xenia, Ohio 45385.
About 4 Paws: Founded in 1998, 4 Paws for Ability, Inc., is a non-profit agency with global outreach serving children, veterans, and adults with disabilities by providing service dogs to those in need. The training of a service dog is recipient specific with a focus on Autism Assistance dogs, Mobility Assistance dogs, Seizure Assistance Dogs, among others. The 4 Paws Organization was featured in Episode 1 of “Dogs” on Netflix
I would like you to meet Lewis, my son who is 8 ½ years old. Lewis was diagnosed with ND-PAE (Neurodevelopmental Disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure) a fancy term for Fetal alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Lewis came to our family as an infant in a private adoption. He started out life as a typical infant. At around 13 months I noticed changes in his behavior, from eating issues, to sleeping issues, some health issues as well. We just plugged along for many years watching his behaviors become more and more unsettling. Once in school, his behaviors escalated and the cause for concern escalated as well. In June of 2019 Lewis was finally diagnosed. It was a diagnosis that not only caused fear in my heart, but also it was a relief to know just what we were dealing with. Lewis suffers from moderate depression, dysregulation with his emotions and is subject to outbursts and anxiety daily. He is the sweetest, most compassionate child who loves his pets (especially his chickens), loves Minecraft, riding his bike and his hoverboard. A service dog will not only help Lewis in his daily life, learning to navigate the world with lots of changes and decisions to make, but also to assist him in regulation of his emotions, and handling situations where his anxiety gets the better of him.
Lewis’s doctors and I believe that an FASD service dog would greatly benefit him. A service dog would offer him friendship, independence and security. It would be trained to cope with his behaviors, offer him affection and touch stimulus to help calm him. The dog would also hopefully help Lewis make friends his own age and would provide some independence and security for my son. He would also be trained to track Lewis, should we become separated for any reason.
Would you please consider a donation to assist us in reaching our fundraising goal of $17,000.00? I have selected 4 Paws for Ability to be our service dog provider because of their excellent reputation. 4 Paws was the first agency in the United States to begin placing highly skilled FASD assistance Dogs and the first agency known to place these assistance dogs with tracking skills.
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