An online fundraiser is underway to help an Abbotsford woman with Type 1 diabetes to obtain a service dog that can alert her when her blood-sugar levels are dangerously low.
Rebekah Harverson has been living with diabetes for 35 years since being diagnosed at the age of 8. She was later diagnosed as a “brittle diabetic” – the name given to the type that is especially hard to control – and as having hypoglycemic unawareness, meaning her body fails to generate the characteristic symptoms of low blood sugar.
Her daughter, Morgane, says that her mom has recently been sleeping through the alarm on her Dexcom device, a glucose-monitoring system that alerts her when her blood-sugar levels are too low.
“If she’s unable to awaken to get her blood sugars up, it can result in death. She’s awakened by the paramedics after my brothers call 911 at least monthly,” Morgane says.
Rebekah was approved for a diabetes alert dog at no cost to her in July 2019 from the Lions Foundation of Canada. But because that organization uses saliva from diabetic volunteers to train the dogs, that process has been halted due to COVID-19.
She has since been approved through Assistance Service Dogs BC, which uses saliva directly from the owner. But it costs $25,000 to raise, train and place a dog.
Rebekah has been paying $1,000 a month on a payment plan, but Morgane says her mom desperately needs the support now.
“At this point, we are trying to use all the resources we can, as the whole family is very worried for my mom’s life. She has children and grandchildren who need her,” Morgane says.
She has started at GoFundMe campaign to raise money towards the cost of a service dog.
The page can be found by searching “Need Service Dog” at gofundme.com.