Alright Idahoans. It's time to help a little boy named Riley who suffers from Dravet Syndrome epilepsy.
For every shirt sold, we are donating $10 to help Riley get a very needed service dog that can help him with his seizures. We are all in this together.
Here's an excerpt from the Idaho Press
Riley, who recently turned 5, has Dravet (pronounced draw-vay) Syndrome epilepsy, “one of the most devastating forms of epilepsy,” said his Oma, Diane Peterson. She and her husband, Randy Peterson, are raising Riley. And they are also over halfway to their goal of raising $17,000 so they can get a “seizure assist service dog” for Riley.
“At first we were told he may grow out of these seizures ... but this form of epilepsy will be with him for the rest of his life,” Diane said. With an assist dog, she hopes that one day Riley will be able to live a more normal life, will be able to go to the bathroom, to take a shower on his own.
After a period of training and evaluation, the dogs can often tell when a seizure is imminent, helping Riley and the Petersons to cut it off at the pass with medication.
“The dogs are very specific,” said Diane Peterson, who refers to the dog as a medical device for Riley. “The dog will be able to signal to Riley to sit down or lay down ... as they get in tune with the child. These dogs are amazing.”
The dog will be sent an article of Riley’s clothing for training purposes, Diane said, something he’s worn during a seizure. The dog will use that scent to predict an oncoming seizure before it happens, or early enough to quell it with the proper medication.
The cost of such specifically-trained dogs is high: $40,000 to $60,000. But through 4 Paws for Ability, a nonprofit that helps provide service dogs to children in need worldwide, the Petersons only have to pony up $17,000.
“The benefit Riley will receive from a service dog is truly priceless,” Diane said. “A dog will give him that independence. For him to be in his bedroom and play like a little boy plays — he doesn’t do that now, we have to be with him all the time,” she said.
Diane said Riley does enjoy a range of activities — he loves riding his bike, playing outside and reading his books — his favorite is “Cat in the Hat.” But she hopes that his world will be much bigger with a service dog by his side.
Once it is in motion, the entire process takes several years, Diane said. The puppy, usually a golden retriever or lab, is raised from chosen parents who will train the dog specifically for Riley for his environment. They’ll take into consideration if there are stairs in the home and what kind of wildlife might be in the backyard.
“They give it a name, but we can give it our own, too,” Diane said. “We pay for all the vet bills ... but the dog is a part of the foundation. The dog gets a refresher course after a year and as needed,” she said. “We don’t own the dog, they own the dog.”
If and when Riley needs another dog as he grows up and the dog ages past the point of being as reliable and useful, the foundation will supply a new medical device dog — and Riley and the Petersons will then be able to take his “old dog” into their home as their pet. Diane and Randy will also get the dog as comfort if Riley passes away.
“I want to help educate people about these assist dogs,” Diane said, noting that they can be used as medical devices to help with a variety of childhood ailments, diseases and disabilities, including diabetes, autism and hearing impairments.
“Their child can have independence with these assist dogs,” she said. “There’s hundreds of thousands of these kids.”
For the Emdes, they couldn’t hope for a better cause for their special anniversary. “We’ve got Riley,” said Andrew, “and we’re going to raise that $17,000. We’re up to $11,000 now — we just need another $6,000.
“Come party with us and help us help Riley.”
Please do your part and purchase one of these shirts to help Riley.
• Produced sustainably with eco-friendly Waterbased inks and dyes.
• Designed and printed locally in McCall, Idaho
• Adult/Unisex Sizing
• $10 from each shirt will be donated to the Peterson Family to pay for Riley's new service dog which can cost between $40000 and $60000.
• Please allow up to 10 business days for delivery. These are made in smaller batches to keep costs low and to allow for us to donate as much as possible.