Thursday, July 09, 2009

Make-A-Wish Foundation gives boy a service dog

Thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the Dainiaks, of Bedford, will have a new addition to their family in January. His name is Buzz and he is a service dog.

He will join the family to help 6-year-old Nicholas, who has Batten Disease, a neurological degenerative disorder that causes vision loss and seizures, and is considered terminal.

“The dog will be great in all stages,” said Heather Dainiak, Nicholas’ mother. “It will be a german shepard or lab, whatever they think is going to work best.”

The dog will be trained to best meet Nicholas’ needs.

Buzz will be trained in Ohio and the whole family will go there in January to work with the service dog for two weeks before he returns to Bedford with them.

“He will help with vision, mobility and seizures,” said Heather. As Nicholas’ condition deteriorates, Heather sees the dog becoming more of a companion to her son.

The cost of a service dog is $12,000-$14,000 and the Dainiaks originally decided that they would save for it. However, they quickly realized that by the time they saved enough, Nicholas’ condition may have deteriorated to a point that he would not benefit from a dog.

“We contacted Make-a-Wish in the attempt to attract a celebrity to our fundraising events,” said Chris Dainiak, Nicholas’ father. “At that point, they suggested that the need for a service dog could be fulfilled through Make-a-Wish, if this was truly Nicholas’ wish.”

When the team came to visit Nicholas and ask him what he wished for, he replied “a dog named Buzz.”

About 100 Manchester Firefighters planned a ride from Manchester to Colebook to raise money for Make-a-Wish to grant Nicholas his wish. They celebrated June 4 at a barbecue, where Nicholas got to meet rescue dogs from the Canine Alert Search Team.

Despite having the need for a service dog filled, the Dainiaks are still fund raising to search for a cure for Batten Disease. Along with other families dealing with the disease they are trying to raise $2.5 million to fund a study at Cornell University.

The local community has come together to help with the effort in big and small ways. Students at Harmony Learning Center, where Nicholas’ brother William attends pre-school, are collecting nickels for Nicholas. Last Sunday, Salon Thairapy in Hooksett offered free kids haircuts and welcomed donations to Nicholas’ fund.

This weekend there are two events planned, the Fore Nicholas Golf Tournament at Candia Woods on Saturday and Drive for a Cure on Sunday in North Andover, Mass.

A Bounce U event and gala dinner are planned for the coming months.

“Every donation is a big donation,” said Heather. “We started at nothing.”

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