Thanks to a column in the local newspaper, a boy might be able to get a diabetic alert dog. Annapolis Area Christian School seniors Cory Owens and Ryan Keyton came across an article about young Dylan Meacham, who has type 1 diabetes and could use the help of an alert dog, and decided they wanted to help him accomplish his goal.
Dylan was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, but he is incredibly sensitive to insulin – even one normal unit of it is too much for him. His blood sugar can drop dangerously low, which can cause seizures, loss of consciousness and brain damage. A diabetic alert dog could be especially helpful at night, when blood sugar drops during sleep.
The high school students are working on their senior practicum: they must choose a topic to research, do on-site visits, write an eight-page paper, do a service project and finally, do a 30-minute presentation.
“When I read the article in the Maryland Gazette about Dylan, it really moved me and, after meeting Dylan, it made me want to help him even more,” Ryan said. “I am doing my practicum on service dogs and how they help people and thought that this would be the perfect service project.”
“My project is actually about animal abuse and I initially was planning to volunteer at the animal shelter or by walking in the annual SPCA Walk for the Animals. Ryan and I both love dogs. Each of our families has two golden retrievers,” Cory said. “After seeing the article you (the Maryland Gazette) wrote, ‘Wanted: Lifesaving dog for diabetic boy’ and knowing that Ryan’s project was about service dogs, Ryan and I went to the AACS dean of students with our idea and got permission to work together to organize the event for Dylan and host the event at the upper school campus on Burns Crossing Road in Severn,” Cory said.
The teens have planned a walk at their school on May 4. There will also be a raffle with great prizes, one of them being a Baltimore Ravens jersey signed by Jacoby Jones, as well as face-painting and food and beverages. All funds will go to the Meachams to get an alert dog, which can cost upwards of $20,000.
Not only are Cory and Ryan trying to raise money at the event, they also want to raise awareness about diabetes and service dogs. Through the planning, they have gotten to know Dylan’s family, and plan on keeping in touch and meeting the dog.
“I think it’s awesome that we can help Dylan get a diabetic dog. It’s always a good feeling when you help someone and an even greater feeling to know it might help save Dylan’s life,” Ryan said.