PINELAND, TX (KTRE) - A Pineland family is seeking the community's help in raising enough money to get a diabetic alert dog for an 8-year-old girl that is coping with Type 1 diabetes.
Georgette Norris said, so far, they have raised $2,000 of the $15,000 needed to get a specially-trained diabetic alert dog for her daughter, Bailey.
"Bailey is very independent and checks her own sugar and gives herself her own insulin shots," Norris said. "Very seldom do I get to give her a shot. I stand there to make sure she does it correctly."
Bailey was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes two years ago.
"In order for Bailey to manage her diabetes we have to watch what she eats - she can't have a lot of carbs - make sure she takes her insulin," Norris said.
Norris explained that Type 1 diabetes is a disorder of the human immune system that makes it difficult for a person's body to produce insulin.
Coping with Type 1 diabetes means that Bailey has to deal with things with most kids her age don't normally encounter during their childhoods. Norris said Bailey feels bad when her sugar level gets too high or low. When Bailey starts to feel bad, she often has severe stomach aches and feels shaky, her mother said.
With Halloween coming up in a few weeks, most children Bailey's age are looking forward to all the tasty sweets they'll get when they go trick or treating.
"Yeah, we will get to go, but Bailey can't have the candy," Norris said. "What fun is that? She knows all the kids will be able to eat their candy but she can't."
Norris said she tries to let Bailey have as normal a childhood as possible.
"She loves softball so I let her play," Norris said. "When her sugar goes low she has to sit out and wait 15 minutes and re-check her sugar. She hates that because she doesn't want to miss any part of the game."
Carmen Brown, a family friend, said that Bailey recently spent three long days in the hospital and was almost in a coma.
"The dog is very expensive but necessary," Brown said in an e-mail. "It can alert Bailey or her mother as to Bailey's sugar being too high or too low before it gets to a dangerous level."
Without insulin, the body cannot convert sugar from food into nutrients for cells," Norris said. "Excess sugar builds up in the blood stream and may eventually cause severe damage to organs and premature death."
Norris said both adults and children can develop Type 1 diabetes suddenly. Managing the disease requires supplemental insulin along with carefully regimented diet and exercise, she said.
Donations for Bailey's diabetes alert dog can be sent to the Shelby Savings Bank, where an account has been set up in her name. The account number is 0220001340. People interested in helping out can also visit Bailey's link on gofundme.org. In addition, a booth set up in San Augustine on October 26th at the annual Sassafras Festival to help raise money for her dog.
"We are nowhere close to raising the money for our dog," Norris said. "The total cost is $15000 and we only have $2000. We still have a long road ahead of us but we are working on it. Every little bit helps."
For more information on diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association's Website.
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