The family of four-year-old Melissa van Blerk, daughter of Westcon Group NZ technical quote specialist, Dries van Blerk, is hoping to raise $NZ20,000 to provide her with a Diabetic Assistance Dog – and the distributor is backing the goal.
As outlined on her fundraising page, Melissa was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes almost two years ago; it is an auto-immune disease which destroys pancreatic beta-cells which are the only source for the insulin hormone.
Consequently, Melissa and her family must precisely calculate insulin injections and carbohydrate consumption to provide the appropriate pump for minute-supply of insulin throughout the day.
Assistance Dogs are trained to recognise the scent of hypoglycaemia and respond in a defined way to ensure the correct assistance is given.
The dogs provide backup to parents - who generally test blood glucose levels twice overnight - and offer companionship to children who suffer from constant injections.
The estimated cost of training a dog is $NZ48,000, although Westcon is aiming for $NZ20,000 in its effort.
Donations can be made through Melissa’s fundraising page, hosted by FundraiseOnline.co.nz.