6-year-old Ian Unger has Type I Diabetes and relies on an insulin pump and a 24-hour glucose monitor. More than anything, he wants to ride the schoolbus with his fellow kindergarteners.
Recently his condition prompted the school district to insist he have a personal aide with him if he is to ride the bus. However, when the family requested an aide be provided, their plea was denied.
“Their plan was to put him on an empty bus by himself and take him to school after school starts,” Ian’s mother, Katrina Christensen told First Coast News. “And for Ian, he’s so social. He was devastated.”
In order to give Ian the normal school day experience every child deserves, the family came up with a plan. They decided to grow and sell pumpkins to raise money for a medical alert dog.
When the big orange gourds were ready, Christensen announced the sale on Facebook. She had no idea her son and his pumpkins were about to go viral.
Her post was shared more than 500 times, and the family sold almost 150 pumpkins in a single day!
“We ran out, and we’ve had some people donate some pumpkins…and we bought some, too,” Christensen said. “I was in tears all day with all these people coming, and just the love they are showing to him is amazing.”
But that was just the beginning. Ian and his family received so many donation offers that they started a Facebook fundraiser for those who wanted to help. In just 4 days, they raised over $23,000 – more than $3,000 above their goal!
A fully trained diabetic alert dog costs around $25,000, and according to Christensen, “alerts the person to their blood sugars about 45 minutes before your blood sugar will show up on the meter.”
The grateful mom told iHeartDogs that thanks to the tremendous support of their local community and online donors across the country, they have already secured a diabetic alert dog for Ian.
The pooch is undergoing training at Alert Service Dogs in Indianapolis.
“This usually takes about 18-24 months,” Christensen said. “They are telling us about 10 months because of all the publicity and that we have all the money.”
“We are absolutely amazed and in awe of all the support,” she said. “Never in a million years would I have guessed this would happen. We are so blessed!”
H/T to First Coast News
Featured Image via Facebook/Katrina Christensen