Little Maddi (Madalyn ) Dewald is so darn cute you can’t help but be drawn to her. She is friendly, outgoing and has a captivating smile. But that isn’t why you are tempted to call her Maddi the Miracle girl. Little Maddi while looking so happy and content, at the same time, is also undergoing a serious medical problem. She began having seizures before her first birthday and was diagnosed with epilepsy on October 24th, 2012. The Dewald life since then has been one of extremes; extreme happiness they have Maddi and extreme worrying something might happen to her. It has become a 24/7 challenge for the Dewalds with anticipating seizures and then providing medical attention. Since being diagnosed wth epilepsy, Maddi has had 4 hospital admissions, 22 ER visits, 2 MRIs, 2 EEGs, numerous blood tests and over 100 seizures with some lasting up to 10+ minutes.
“Going through this- watching your perfect little girl like this is the most painful thing I have ever gone through,” tells her mother Jessica Dewald . “ I would do anything to make this go away but I can't. She shows me everyday how resilient she is and truly amazing she is. I can't take her epilepsy away, But making sure she has the tools to better cope is something we can do.”
The Dewalds learned there was a special tool to help Maddi, her Mom Jessica and her Dad Marcus cope; a seizure alert dog. They also learned that 4 Paws for Ability has dog training program to prepare dogs to alert parents of seizures when they occur if not even beforehand. “This dog will not only alert my husband, Marcus & I to Madalyn's seizures, but also provide physical security (if she is on the stairs & seizing the dog will block her from falling) and a great deal of emotional support especially for all her Doctor visits and hospital stays.”
On the 4 Paws for Ability website, they describe the service. “Most of the calls 4 Paws take on a daily basis, in regard to Seizure Assistance Dogs, are from the parents of children who have seizures. This led us to develop a program geared toward the placement of dogs trained to provide a level of emotional support above and beyond what could be achieved with the addition of a family pet.. We have an 80% success rate in our placements.
While children are not mature enough to participate in the intensive training process needed for the successful placement of the Seizure Response Dog (which is what the agencies that do not place with children train), the parents can use a Seizure Assistance Dog as a tool in helping keep their child safe and the benefits of having a dog as a companion and friend are priceless.” 4 Paws for Abiltiy is located in the United States and can be reached by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharing a day with the Dewalds- from the February 19th Facebook entry
“An update on our girl… Her phenobarb levels were dangerously high. So much so that our pediatrician said that her levels could have reached fatal levels had we not come in- she most likely would have stopped breathing. So, her dose was dropped from 50mg x2 a day, to 30mg x2 a day and will be decreasing it by 15mg a day until we are done it.
Madalyn's neurologist wants to give valproic acid a chance to work in her, as he thinks it will work better alone than with the phenobarb. If this doesn't work we will need to have Maddi admitted for video surveillance and constant EEG to see if we can pinpoint exactly where she is having seizures so we can find out why she is having them. She will also have some basic metabolic testing and neuro-chemical testing- and this is if she continues having seizures.”
The Wetaskiwin Branch 86 Legion Auxiliary there to help
“We are fundraising to help with costs associated with us getting help for Maddi”, explained Jessica. “We thought it would take months and months to raise some money, but the community just embraced us and our little girl.” On March 5th, Legion Ladies Auxiliary Branch 86 President, Janice Dradekon and Kaye Grinde joined the efforts by presenting the DeWald with a cheque for $500. “My husband's work donated a significant amount and that was overwhelming. But then people who don't even know us want to help- just like the Ladies Auxillary and we are humbled. Not only is the community surrounding us but we are working with an amazing charity in Georgia- 1boy4change.”
“We know Maddi is important to us & our family, but she touches everyone she meets and her smile & giggle is contagious.” For more information or to follow the day-to-day happenings and challenges in the life of Maddi the Miracle girl go to: www.facebook.com/4Paws for Miss Maddi or contact Jessica Dewald – 312 0532