At only 14 months old, Levi had his first seizure. Initially, doctors thought he had a type of seizure that is fairly common in young children. But when Levi’s seizures continued for several months, doctors diagnosed him with epilepsy.
Levi’s seizure disorder has changed life for his entire family. He can’t be left alone for daily tasks—even taking a warm shower puts Levi at risk for a seizure. During the summer months, Levi must remain indoors because the heat can also trigger a seizure.
That’s why, when Levi heard he would receive a wish, he thought long and hard about something that would make life better—not only for Levi, but his entire family. Levi wished to have a service dog.
Levi’s parents agreed that a trained seizure dog would help keep him safe, and provide a great source of comfort to their family. Levi needed a dog specifically trained to detect his seizures
and help him through them, and a companion that will always be by his side.
The process of placing Levi with his service dog, Beaumont, took two years. It is a step-by-step process which requires the dog and individual to develop a strong bond prior to placing the dog in the home. Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington works with an accredited assistance dog organization to find a companion that’s a perfect fit.
During this process, Levi’s medical condition continued to provide challenges. Levi has an implant to reduce the length of his seizures, and takes three medications each day to reduce their frequency. While the medication has improved his condition, Levi is still unable to do the things other kids his age can do, such as go to summer camp or play with friends unsupervised.
Levi’s wish came at a perfect time for him and his family. “Now that Levi has his own dog he’s more outgoing. He’s got his buddy,” said wish-granting volunteer, Kim.
Levi experiences a seizure every seven to nine days. Before Beaumont, a parent always had to be by Levi’s side. Now when Levi has a seizure, Beaumont immediately alerts the family. Beaumont barks, licks his face, and is right by his side. Beaumont has given the family a peace of mind and independence for Levi they never had before.
You see, a wish isn’t just nice; it’s necessary. Wishes have proven physical and emotional benefits that can give children with critical illnesses a higher chance of survival. And wishes like Levi’s transform lives.
Recently, Levi’s mom was in her bedroom while Levi napped in his favorite chair. He suddenly fell on the floor and started seizing. Beaumont alerted mom immediately by barking and began licking Levi’s face, trying to move his head with his own face, eventually lying down beside him and putting his face on Levi’s chest.
Owning a dog has given Levi a sense of responsibility and pride. Beaumont currently attends school with Levi for half-days, though will eventually go full-time. “I walk through the front door of the school with Beaumont and kids yell, “Hey Beaumont!” said Levi’s mom, Cindy. Beaumont has given Levi new confidence.
Right now, there are enough children waiting for wishes to fill more than seven school buses. We can’t grant all of their wishes without your support. Donate today and help more kids like Levi experience the transformative power of a wish.