Radar (Easton's service dog) has arrived! The trainer will remain with Radar and the family for a period of time to help get Radar settled in. Work will also begin to acquaint Easton's peers and others with the protocol for interacting with a service animal.
Congratulations to Easton and his family on achieving this life-saving goal, and thank you to all who supported the Kemmerer Lions Club to allow us to help!
Again, a special thank you to StrikeMaster Ice Augers and the Lions of Wyoming Foundation for their generous support. Without the help of these two organizations, this life-saving project would not have been possible!
Please check out our PowerPoint presentation of this project's conclusion, and to learn more if you or someone you know may benefit from this life-saving tool.
Radar has arrived at his home to begin his life-saving vigil as Easton's companion.
Radar's training is cemented and reinforced on an ongoing basis, using treats and praise as incentive to perform his life-saving service.
In December of 2014, at just 12 years old, Easton was diagnosed with severe Juvenile Diabetes. Easton's condition quickly progressed from frequent monitoring throughout the day and insulin injections to the imperative use of an insulin pump and electronic monitoring device. Easton's condition has, however proven to be even more severe, to the extent that the electronic monitoring equipment does not provide adequate warning in instance where his blood sugar drops precipitously. During these episodes, which can occur as frequently as once a week or more and in as little as 2-3 minutes time, Easton becomes virtually incapacitated (often losing consciousness entirely) and unable to administer the necessary preemptive or corrective measures to avoid a life-threatening situation. Family members and friends have been instrumental in assisting when Easton experiences these life-threatening episodes, but are not always immediately on-hand.
As Easton grows and seeks to become more independent, this condition becomes progressively more problematic and detrimental to his immediate well-being. In conjunction with the reality of a very life-threatening situation, these episodes compromise Easton's ability to concentrate on academics and impair his ability to maintain an active and healthy physical lifestyle (e.g. participation in sports and other physical activities). Over time, the prolonged occurrence of these drastic fluctuations in Easton's body contribute to long-term degeneration of his cardiovascular system, vision, circulatory system, and even his brain. As a result, maintaining consistency and equilibrium in Easton's blood sugar levels is critical not only to his immediate safety and quality of life, but also to his long-term health and life expectancy. Despite evaluation by and consultation with multiple leading experts in the field of Diabetes, Easton and his family have been able to find no clues as to the cause of these sudden and entirely unexpected precipitous drops in Easton's blood sugar (i.e. correlation to diet, physical exertion, mental state, even genetic predisposition).
Because Easton's condition can deteriorate so rapidly and unexpectedly (quickly reaching the limitations of the available monitoring technology that the family has employed), a different approach is required to help monitor his physical state, and to preempt these life-threatening events. Through extensive research into available technologies and monitoring options, the family has located just a few service providers in the United States, which have begun to train service-dogs to detect and alert at the very early onset of these episodes. Such early detection of these changes in Easton's body allows him to personally take corrective measures before his condition becomes so severe that he cannot help himself. In extreme instances, the service animal will seek out and alert others, if Easton himself becomes unresponsive. Where the electronics and medical technology have obviously reached a limitation, this represents the next medically necessary technological advance in the management and treatment of severe cases of diabetes.
Unfortunately, Easton's medical coverage did not cover the cost of the service animal, given that this is a relatively new approach, and has not been precedented as a common-place service that healthcare coverage is yet obligated to cover. As such, the family bore the entire responsibility for covering the cost of the service animal, which was $15,000.