Last year, Righteous Pups dared AFS Partner Graeme Stewart to join a basketball team, promising it would be a fun, rewarding, unique and life changing experience to help raise funds for a young girl, and many other children living with Type -1 Diabetes.
In November 2014, eight year old Eliza was rushed to hospital and tests soon revealed Eliza’s pancreas was no longer working correctly and her body was toxically high with sugar in the blood. Her muscles were breaking down, her vision disappearing and her parents distraught as they watched their once vibrant and active child, wasting away. Eliza dropped to 25 kilos as the doctors tried to stabilise her.
Eliza was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes and the following weeks in hospital consisted of constant blood sugar readings, controlled eating and multiple injections of insulin. Eliza was positive at the outset, but all this changed when she began to experience dangerously low readings at school and in the middle of her gymnastics sessions. Mum would be called, Eliza would have to stop, and action taken immediately. Eliza’s nights were also different, with mum having to wake her at 2:00am to take a blood reading and administer insulin or food depending on results.
Vibrant, dynamic Eliza discovered a new and uncomfortable feeling of overwhelming fear and ever present anxiety… would she have a sugar low, fall over, become injured or worse – slip into a coma and die? Tears replaced laughter and her parents were at a loss… what more could they do to keep their precious daughter safe and give back her vibrancy and confidence?
In Eliza’s aid, Righteous Pups launched a new type of Service Dog program – a dog who would alert Eliza before her blood sugar levels reached dangerous levels. A dog who would accompany Eliza to school and gymnastics, and sleep with her through the night. A dog who could recreate a world that is safe and predictable for her and the people who love her.
A relationship was forged with the world’s oldest and best medical alert dog program, Dogs4Diabetics in the US, who were willing to train and mentor staff at Righteous Pups to establish a world class program in Australia. They now have access to the best dogs for the job and they know demand for these dogs in Australia is high, but the cost is also high.
Righteous Pups and the Bendigo Braves came together to organise a charity basketball match. After months of training, Eliza’s Heroes – a group of local community-minded people – are now ready to take on the Bendigo Braves in the first game of the season.
You can help by coming along to the game at 2pm on Saturday 19 March to support Eliza’s Heroes and watch Graeme in action.
To purchase tickets, you can call the Bendigo Stadium on 03 5440 6201.
If you can’t attend, but would like to donate, please contact Bryley at our office or text the word ELIZA to Joanne Baker at Righteous Pups on 0429 010 070.