Family hopes service dog will help diabetic boy

Community helps raise money toward $25,000 goal

Posted 10/10/16

Christian Dana ran to his mother on a recent afternoon, excited to tell her the coffee shop they were in had sugar-free candies.

It’s a big deal to the 7-year-old who has to count every sugar and carb he eats. Christian was diagnosed with Type …

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Family hopes service dog will help diabetic boy

Community helps raise money toward $25,000 goal

Posted

Christian Dana ran to his mother on a recent afternoon, excited to tell her the coffee shop they were in had sugar-free candies.

It’s a big deal to the 7-year-old who has to count every sugar and carb he eats. Christian was diagnosed with Type I diabetes in April 2015.

“You never imagine it to be your own child,” his mother, Tara, said. “I would have done everything that day to trade spots with him.”

Now, Christian never eats anything without checking the label. He wears a pump to control his insulin. He pricks his finger eight to 10 times a day to check his blood sugar.

And he does it like a pro: The boy with a sheepish yet ornery smile whips out a testing strip. He pricks his finger, gives it a squeeze to push out the blood and then takes the sample. Not even a wince.

Soon, the Dana family hopes that monitoring Christian’s diabetes will become easier through the help of a service dog. They are approximately halfway to their $25,000 fundraising goal.

Through scent, service dogs can alert a person when blood sugar is getting too high or too low.

The Danas are working with Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, a nonprofit that provides service dogs to families, along with trainers to help them transition the dog into their daily lives.

Testing his blood sugar is the first thing Christian does when he wakes up each day. It’s the last thing he does before going to sleep around 9 p.m. each night. Sometimes, on a bad day, Tara wakes up around midnight to check it again.

However, Tara worries he may becomes less meticulous as he grows older. A dog by his side would give him a safety net, she said, and give her peace of mind.

The community has already gathered around the family. 105 West Brewing Co. in Castle Rock dedicated the month of August to Christian’s cause, Tara said, and pulled in $3,000.

An event organized by Christian’s Cub Scout pack raised $3,300 in one day. A rummage sale, held at First United Methodist church on Aug. 13, took weeks of planning but brought a profit that was well worth it.

Vanessa Cogswell, the fundraising chair and treasurer for Cub Scout Pack 261, said community support was huge, particularly in way of donations and event turnout.

“When we finally presented Christian the check, Christian was crying, and some of the other boys got emotional, too,” she said, “because they’ve all been friends for so long.”

The Cub Scout Pack was proud. The club had expected to raise, maybe, $1,000. The day’s proceeds more than exceeded their expectations.

Both Cogswell and Tara are brainstorming more fundraisers to help bring the donations up to the $25,000 goal. The family also has a donation page set up through the nonprofit’s website.

Tara hopes the process will raise awareness about service dogs and their ability to assist diabetic persons. She also hopes to give Christian some comfort as he lives with his disease.

“I give him a lot of credit for what he goes through at a young age,” she said. “I want to give him something out of this.”

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