Harrison raises 18.5K for youngster seeking trained dog

May 29, 2015

Anton Williams is thankful for the communities support helping to raise funds to furnish him with a  trained dog capable of detecting sugar levels.

Anton Williams is thankful for the communities support helping to raise funds to furnish him with a trained dog capable of detecting sugar levels.

By Rosemary Horvath
Correspondent

While the Hamilton Township Williams family looks forward to adopting an alert dog for their 8 year-old son diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, it appears the community has adopted the Williams family.

The family’s Facebook page has kept well-wishers abreast of their son Anton’s daily battle and the wait for a trained dog from Heads Up Hounds, the Louisville, Nebraska organization that trains rescue dogs to function as diabetic alert dogs.

For two years, local events have raised money toward the purchase of a DAD for which parents Tara and Chris Williams applied a $1,500 deposit just to get added to a waiting list.

They pay $6,000 on the day they pick up the dog which is estimated to be sometime between December 2015 and April 2016.
The Harrison Moose learned of the family’s plight and asked Maye Rood, who is known for her organizational skills to head up a campaign.

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And she did.

To date the total is $18,500 and counting.
“Service organizations in Clare County and outside the county have helped,” Rood said at her Hayes Township office where she is township treasurer.
“No one person can do it all,” she says modestly. “It does take a village. Many volunteers donated their time. It takes a lot of hands to pull off fund raisers.”

There have been raffles and dances and other events in addition to straight forward donations.
Rood is aware of the expenses the family faces such as travel expenses to medical appointments and to pick up the DAD when the time comes.
Name of their Facebook page is “Anton’s Fight Against Diabetes.” They also have a page on the free fundraising platform called You Caring that has raised $1,985 so far.

DADs are trained to alert diabetic owners in advance of low or high blood sugar and trained to react to a chemical change. Type 1 diabetes once known as juvenile diabetes is occurs when the immune system attacks the pancreas and the body fails to produce insulin. Children and young adults are affected.

Along with the DAD comes a door bell mat the dog is trained to trigger that sets off a siren to alert a family during the night.
“They are trained like seeing eye dogs,” Rood said. “The dog can accompany Anton in public places.”

Rood had been successful previously heading up fund raisers to replace a canine unit for the Clare County Sheriff’s Department. Her son Luke Tessner is a dog handler and trainer. He and Deputy Larry Kahsin are the department’s K-9 team.

Rood beams describing the generosity the community has shown. She first set a goal of $15,000 after reviewing expenses both now and in the future, including the 10-day training session Anton has to go through.

“Everyone has done an amazing job,” she said. As one donor said, “we have to stick together. I couldn’t be prouder of the Harrison community.”

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