Spencer Hensley is a student at Edgerton Elementary in Washington. Recently, he wrote a letter to the school’s principal asking for permission to start a fundraiser. In it, Hensley wrote, “Unfortunately, I know a smart kid who used to come to school, but doesn’t get to anymore. His name is Connor, and he is 12 years old.” He’s speaking of his friend Connor McKenna, a fellow student diagnosed this past October with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS. POTS is characterized by too little blood returning to the heart when going from a lying down position to a standing position.
As a result, Connor suffers from fainting, headaches, dizziness and insomnia. His mother, Heidi McKenna, says Connor has fainted at least 15 times since October. Right now he’s only able to attend school with is mother for a few hours a day. A service dog will not only allow Connor more independence and the ability to attend a full day of school alone, but will keep him from falling if he faints and can even detect when Connor is going to lose consciousness.
Unfortunately, their insurance company puts the price tag of the service dog at a whopping $30,000. Since that’s more than they can afford, Spencer Hensley decided to help out by selling bracelets at school. He’s raised Connor $1,000 so far. This is in addition to the family’s fundraiser. Needless to say, Connor has a great group of friends and family for a support system.
So far, the McKennas have raised half of their fundraising goal with the hopes of reaching the needed amount. Once they’re able to pay for Connor’s service dog, they’ll be put on a waiting list that can still take three months to five years to fulfill. Still, they are confident that the dog will help Connor’s quality of life.
Connor is also hopeful. “That way I can start living more of a normal life, even though it wouldn’t exactly be normal. I would be able to have a little more independence,” he tells KHOU. Service dogs are an incredible asset to those who need them and we certainly hope the best for Connor and his family.