Commonwealth Journal


February 26, 2013

Dog for diabetic child could be a lifesaver


Somerset —

“He had taken our other daughter (Carlee) to the doctor in Lexington, and Haylee wasn’t feeling very well; we noticed she was getting tired,” said Dana. “We took her to the children’s clinic (the next day), and they told us to get her to (the University of Kentucky Medical Center) as fast as we could.”
Time was indeed of the essence. Haylee went into a diabetic coma, a condition in which she spent two days.
Since then, Haylee has stayed “very strong,” as her mother put it, and has gone on living her life the best she can. She stays active playing basketball at Rocky Hollow Park in Somerset.
“She doesn’t get scared; she doesn’t let her condition slow her down,” said Dana. “The other day she was playing basketball. Her sugar level was at 500 (which is very high), but she kept going.”
Still, Haylee’s condition is a lifelong one, and will require constant attention, diligence in insulin shots, and precautions throughout the youth that others her age enjoy carefree.
“Haylee can’t stay all night with a friend or be away from me for a long period of time unless she is at school where the nurse takes care of her also,” noted Dana.
One thing that will help is a diabetic service dog. The Whitis family — Dana and Haylee, as well as dad Donnie, brother Jeremiah and sister Carlee — are hoping to obtain one of these crucial animals from Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers in Virginia.
“(The) diabetic alert dogs are trained to recognize and alert on the scene of low and/or high blood sugars for someone with Type 1 diabetes,” said Dana. “While most might think that the blood glucose meter is all Haylee needs, we need this additional tool to help manage blood sugar fluctuations, so that in the future we can try to prevent some of the devastating effects Type 1 diabetes has had one her body.”

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