You could help change Nathan Spielman's life! Help us raise money to make him eligible to receive a MOBILITY DOG!
Many of you know our son, Nathan Spielman, and the journey our family has been on since he was born 3 years ago. Many of you have walked this journey with us, cried with us, prayed with us, rejoiced with us. We are writing to share with you some of Nathan’s challenges and to ask you to join us in helping Nathan gain some independence and freedom, something you and I take for granted each day.
The day Nathan was born 3 years ago, the doctors told us that there was something different about him. His high palate, droopy eyelids, adducted thumbs, and perhaps most significant, his extremely low muscle tone, were all indicators that Nathan had a genetic syndrome. During his first 3 years of life, Nathan has experienced countless appointments with neurologists, orthopedists, gastro-intestinal specialists, opthamologists, ENTs, craniofacial specialists, geneticists, and orthotics specialists. He also has worked consistently in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy three times each week. Nathan also has logged many hours with the special education department of our school district and has endured numerous blood draws and brace- and helmet-fitting appointments.
Last August, just before his third birthday, Nathan finally received a diagnosis. He has Multiminicore Disease, a rare genetic muscle condition in which his muscle cells will always only perform at a small percentage of normal function. As you can imagine, this affects EVERYTHING he does, from talking, chewing and swallowing, to coloring, writing, and pushing buttons. However, what is most life-impacting is how Nathan's gross motor skills are affected. Mastering tasks such as rolling over, sitting up, standing, and walking has required hundreds of hours of dedicated therapy. His severe weakness makes climbing the stairs (with help) the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest for a 'normal' person. It also makes him unstable and thus prone to falls and injury.
Nathan's life will always be more difficult because of his disease, but his quality of life, risk for falls, and movement could be greatly improved through the use of a MOBILITY DOG. A mobility dog is a highly-trained service dog, wearing a special harness, that will serve to help Nathan keep his balance, retrieve items, open doors, push buttons, and help him undress. Not only will the dog be helpful to Nathan physically, but also it will serve as a constant companion and friend, something that Nathan is lacking among his peers due to his inability to keep up. In addition to the boost to his self-confidence from the friendship of this dog, Nathan will also benefit from having people drawn into "his world" by his amazing dog. He will learn to care for another being, rather than always being the one receiving the care. This mobility dog will accompany him everywhere... to school, church, libraries, stores, airplanes. It will give Nathan his first opportunity to develop independence.
As you can imagine, service dogs, specifically mobility dogs for children, require extensive training. The agency training Nathan's dog is called '4 Paws for Ability' (www.4pawsforability.org) . His dog will cost $25,000 to train. As his family, we are committed to raising $13,000 for '4 Paws for Ability,' in order to be eligible to receive one of their dogs. The dog that Nathan will receive will be chosen and trained specifically to fit Nathan's physical needs, as well as his personality, and our family lifestyle.
Would you join us in providing this life-changing opportunity by making a one-time donation to '4 Paws for Ability' in Nathan's name? Donations are tax-deductible. Consider making a donation in someone's honor for Christmas or in memoriam! Not only will you know that you are giving to a good cause, but also you will get to see your gift at work in the next year or so when Nathan's dog is working proudly alongside him, helping him to be independent.
Thank you for considering this opportunity. Your gift will bless Nathan, and in turn our family, in countless ways for many years to come.