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Ride to Give - Help Alyssa and Elmo Get Home
$5,457 raised
109% of $5k goal
248 contributors
0 days left
Ended Nov 24, 2014

On October 22, 16 year old Alyssa Davilla and her parents traveled to Ohio with their service dog Elmo to have him re-trained at 4Paws for Ability. Alyssa suffers from a chromosome abnormality (5q 33.1), seizures, reflux, sleep apnea, cerebral palsy, asthma, autism and developmental delay, and when they got Elmo in January of 2013 he was truly a God send. 

Elmo, a 3 year old goldendoodle, brought security that changed their lives. Alyssa was able to sleep through the night when before she would wake up every 2 hours. Her mom Monique would have to rock her back to sleep and this meant that both were always exhausted. When Elmo joined thier family Alyssa stopped having meltdowns, when she used to have 20-30 per day. Elmo was trained in balance work so Alyssa could hold onto Elmo and walk next to him instead of needing the security of her wheelchair. He was able to alert an adult to a seizure even if her parents were in the other room. Her family suddenly had peace of mind when they put Alyssa to bed or left the room because Elmo let them know if Alyssa had a problem. He became this beautiful child's 1st best friend and a vital part of their family. But then the unimaginable happened.

In Sept 2013 both Alyssa and Elmo contracted Salmonella. Because of her chromosome abnormality Alyssa was unable to fight the bacteria on her own and required chemotherapy for 6 months to restore her intestinal health. Elmo too was hospitalized, needed a feeding tube, and spent 9 months too sick to work, and sadly forgot most of his training.

When the family secured the funds for a spot in this October's 4Paws for Ability training course they jumped at the chance to retrain their beloved dog. But 8 days into the two week course Alyssa delevloped a cold and then asthma related breathing problems.  After a seizure and a trip to Dayton Children's hospital's ER she was admitted to the ICU, and was diagnosed with Enterovirus D68 and Pneumonia. She required oxygen 24hrs and bipap machine for 8 days. Alyssa was finally discharged after 11 days in the hospital. After all this, they are now waiting for the doctor to say it's safe for Alyssa to fly home. They hope to be able to return to California this weekend but it may not be until Thanksgiving Thursday.

We want to help this stranded family. They are very independent and have never asked for anything. We were first contacted about Alyssa’s story by Gio’s mom. They were together in the October training and Myrna saw firsthand how hard Monique and Matt have had to fight to get the care they need for their daughter. The family was already living paycheck to paycheck, but this extended unplanned out of town stay means Alyssa’s father has missed work. The cost of renting a car, a hotel room, new airline tickets, and food for 25 plus days was not something they had in their budget. Many families in their training class as well as the staff of 4 Paws have helped as best they can, but this trip has put them well over $5,000 in debt.  

Please help us cover the cost of their trip as well as help support Alyssa in her recovery. Thank you!

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