Home » Service Dog Crucial for 5-Year-Old With Rare Genetic Disorder

Service Dog Crucial for 5-Year-Old With Rare Genetic Disorder

by Shanine Sealey

Service dogs can make a huge difference in the lives of the people that require them – whether it be for vision impairment, hearing impairment, diabetic alert, autism assistance, seizure response, physical disabilities and so much more. Although these dogs can make a major difference in someone’s life and could in fact be the difference between life and death in some situations, getting a service dog isn’t always an easy reality due to the cost associated with them. In Canada, the average cost for a fully-trained service dog can range anywhere from $30,000 to $45,000.

For Jamie Drigan and her husband, the road to getting a service dog for their 5-year-old daughter Mila has not been an easy one. Mila has been diagnosed with Kabuki Syndrome, which is a rare genetic disorder that only affects approximately 1 in 32,000 births. Some of the characteristics of Kabuki Syndrome include intellectual/behavioral disabilities, distinctive facial features, low muscle mass, vision and hearing difficulty among many others. Kabuki Syndrome shares many of the same characteristics as Autism; however, because of its rarity, it is not viewed, researched, or funded the same way.

The lack of funding for Kabuki Syndrome has definitely impacted the Drigan family; however, that has not stopped them in their fight to ensure the best life possible for their daughter.

Mila is the third of four children and spends most of her days going to school, playing, running and doing the things that most other 5-year-olds do. Underneath the surface though, things aren’t as idealistic. Mila suffers from extreme anxiety attacks, behavioral issues and fear. She was also diagnosed with ADHD and as she gets older, Jamie explained that it is becoming more apparent that extra help will be needed, noting that at her school, as Mila heads into Grade 1 next year, an additional EA will be brought in to provide additional assistance.

To help with the expenses, a GoFundMe page has been created for Mila, which can be found at www.gofundme.com/f/a-better-life-for-mila. For the family, having to ask for help has been a struggle. “Over the years, we have had to take out loans to help get the care needed because we can’t get financial assistance for her and we do it because she is our daughter, and we love her. We are fighting for her. We want her to be safe, comfortable and to have a bright future. We just want the best for her and are so appreciative of all the support from the people around us. Thank you so much. You have no idea what it means to us to have this service dog come into our lives.”

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