The problem is, diabetic alert dogs don’t come cheaply. Dana is expecting it to cost about $25,000, and the process will take time. Dana said the family has “already begun our journey” by placing the initial deposit with Warren Retrievers, and are likely to get the dog in around seven to nine months’ time, but just as budgets are tight for families all over America, the Whitis household is no different and any help the community can offer in getting the dog for Haylee would be a godsend.
The Whitis family has started the “Benefit for Haylee Whitis” Facebook page, which provides updates and information on fundraising efforts. “Benefit for Haylee Whitis” has been organized as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charity, and contributions are tax deductible.
The family will be sending out letters soon to area businesses and organizations with information on how they can help donate to the cause.
A platinum-level sponsorship is $500; gold is $250; silver $100; and bronze $50. Those who donate will be recognized at an upcoming event, likely a reception the family plans to hold later this year when they receive the dog.
“I hope (those who receive the letters) will consider being a sponsor at one of the levels listed,” said Dana. “However, any form of support would be greatly appreciated.”
Checks may be made payable to Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers; to make an immediate donation, please visit their website at www.sdwr.org and use the donation icon, indicating in the message section that the donation is for the Whitis family.
There will also be fundraising events coming up soon to help the cause. A benefit motorcycle ride, auction and lunch will be held on April 20. Ride registration is at 9:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Somerset, 128 N. Main Street, and cost is $20 for a single or $25 for a double. The auction begins at 3 p.m. and there will be music and entertainment. For more information, call Dana Whitis at 606-875-1577.