Girl Battling Childhood Epilepsy Will Get Special Friend
Five-year-old Kye Goering has a smile that’ll melt your heart. Bright-eyed and enthusiastic, she is one of the shining stars in her special education kindergarten [class]. “Kye, aw…she is a fun, fun girl that is…she is very outgoing,” said Angela Yoder, her teacher.
Behind her fun and outgoing nature, Kye has a genetic mutation called Dravet Syndrome. It is a catastrophic form of childhood epilepsy that also is marked by developmental delays. There is currently no cure and children do not out-grow the condition. Kye had her first seizure at five months old. While it was mild, it lasted 35 minutes. “When she was about 8 months old, she had a violent seizure and that seizure caused her to be medevac’d to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,” recalled father Brad Goering.
It took 17-months to get the final diagnosis of Dravet Syndrome, one no parent wants to hear. “It’s very rare and its very severe,” explains Goering. Kye takes two kinds of anti-seizure medications several times a day, and has had a good year. However, her condition can be scary, and that’s why her family is so excited to be getting a service dog from the non-profit organization called “4 Paws For Ability.”
The dog will be specially trained to sense and respond to Kye’s seizures. Her twin sister Taylor is excited for Kye. “What will the doggie do if kye has a seizure?” asked FOX 29’s Dawn Timmeney. “Tell mommy and daddy.” Taylor replied. “And what if Kye runs away?” “It will go after her.”
“Most of her seizures have been at night when we are sleeping. We keep a video camera on her all night long that has a feed into our bedroom,” said Goering. “The dog sleeping in her room or even her bed will know first, before we do, that she is having a seizure and be able to alert us.”
The [Goerings] were responsible for coming up with $13,000 [to support the mission of 4 Paws for Ability] of the $22,000 needed to cover the cost of [training] the dog. They thought it might take a year to raise the money, but it took less than 2 months. Friends, family, their community, everyone pitched in. “Total strangers, we don’t know where all the money came from and the people who gave, we just can’t say thank you enough,” said mother Bethany Goering.
One of those strangers, eight-year old Annika Grasso from [Chalfont, PA]. The second grader wanted to do a service project for someone in need. “I just wanted to help other people,” said Grasso. Annika’s mom heard about Kye through work, and it seemed like a perfect fit. “I felt like it would be really hard to go through that my whole life and I thought she really needs to get a service dog to calm her down and help her, so I really wanted to do it for Kye,” said Grasso.
So Annika organized a lemonade stand and a neighborhood bake sale, making signs and raising $600 in one day. Annika presented her new little friend with the money at [Kye’s Fall Paw Festival]. “She was the sweetest thing and when she gave that check to Kye, we were all just total tears, amazing little girl,” said Bethany Goering.
And thanks to the outpouring of support, Kye and her family will travel to Ohio next October where they will be matched with a four-legged companion from 4 Paws For Ability and train for two weeks. In addition to its seizure alert capabilities, her fury friend will give Kye a sense of security and help her in social situations. “The dog can also be an icebreaker for her to communicate with other children her age and be able to play with them more appropriately,” said Brad Goering. “I cannot wait to see to get there that day and see her get her dog,” said Kye’s mom.
Once Kye gets her dog and gets acclimated, her parents and the school will decide if she can bring her new best friend to class with her. However, that one may require a little more homework. “We are going to see what the dog does for her and use it to the best advantage,” said her dad. “I think its gonna be such a huge difference in her life,” said her mom, a four legged friend that will keep [Kye] healthy and happy.