Support an assistance dog for Jasmine Glancy
My name is Jasmine. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis two weeks before my 14th birthday. For those of you who don't know, this is an auto-immune disease that targets your large intestine. At the time, I weighed 90 pounds, was constantly rushing to the bathroom, and struggled to eat. I had severe stomach cramps -- if you can imagine a rat trying to claw its way out of your body, that's what it felt like. Over time, I got worse. I stopped responding to the medications meant to suppress my immune system. Eventually, the doctors discovered that I had Crohn's disease, not Ulcerative Colitis. Though the treatment is similar, Crohn's can affect anything from your teeth to your rectum... And my case was extremely aggressive.
At 17, I was rushed to the ER after it felt like there were rocks in my stomach. It hurt to breathe, and I was unable to think. An endoscopy discovered my intestines were so inflamed in one portion, there was no way to salvage it. I had to have surgery, or I would die. That was surgery number one. My recovery was slow, and my intestines had to temporarily be rerouted with a temporary ileostomy (a bag to collect waste while my insides healed). I was entirely dependent on my always-supportive mother to help me with the care of my incision and to help me around the house. She helped me remember to take my medicine through the haze of pain. She helped me remember to eat when it had been hours since my last meal.
Three months later, I had surgery to reverse the ileostomy. After a long 4 weeks, I recovered enough to begin studying for my GED. I had been very sick throughout middle and high school; my Crohn's made it very difficult to leave the house due to widespread malaise, fatigue, and abdominal pain. The school systems had worked with me at first, but they soon seemed to stop trying as hard. But without the diseased part of my intestines, I felt better. I knew I wanted to become a veterinary technician -- an animal nurse -- that would help creatures heal when they didn't understand why they were sick or injured. I connected to that, and I wanted to learn how to nurse them back to health.
Within 3 months, I pushed myself to get that GED. The stress acutely flared up my Crohn's disease many times, which always seemed to knock me back. I persisted, and the day after I got my GED I enrolled in a veterinary technology program near where I lived. College was extremely difficult, and I struggled physically to do my best. Eventually, the flare-ups got bad enough to where I had to take a hiatus in order to not push myself to require more surgeries. Throughout my studies, I had multiple ER visits and hospitalizations for severe pain and bad Crohn's flare-ups. But eventually, I graduated.
I began working at a veterinary specialty hospital in the Intensive Care Unit/Emergency Room. My physical and mental limits were stressed, but I pushed myself harder and harder to make sure I could do my best for my patients. A year passed and my Crohn's got steadily worse again. At times, I felt like I was swimming in cement; no matter how hard I worked, the pain kept holding me back. But I focused on making sure my patients were cared for.
Eventually, I began working for the Surgery service. I came home with my entire body hurting at the end of every day, but it was worth it to help my patients. I would go long stretches during the day without eating due to extreme nausea and abdominal discomfort. I was not important. The only thing that mattered was focusing on what I could do to help others-- human or animal. One day, I collapsed at work. It felt like someone had punched me hard in the stomach. The pain was so intense that it took my breath away. I had been planning with my doctors to have a surgery that would remove even more of my diseased intestines. I had made it almost to the scheduled surgery date, October 10th, 2018. But the Crohn's had other plans, and I had to be hospitalized for a week on IV pain meds while I waited for my surgery. When the time came, they removed almost all of my large intestine and a small portion of my small intestine. My ileostomy was now permanent.
This recovery was rough. I couldn't move without feeling like my belly was being split open. I cried often as my mother and my husband helped me hobble to the bathroom. The opioids and the pain made it almost impossible to eat for days at a time. I visited the ER begging for answers. A CT scan revealed that my insides weren't healing the way they should and that my Crohn's was attacking the remaining portion of my GI tract. I learned that I needed a follow-up surgery as soon as possible to spare me further suffering.
The day before Thanksgiving 2018, they rolled me into the operating room to take the rest of my large intestine. This recovery was slower, with my pain level plateauing at a 9 out of 10 on the pain scale. Opioids helped marginally. It has been almost a year since that surgery, and that pain still plagues me. There are moments where I struggle to ambulate and moments where the pain makes it impossible to get out of bed.
My husband still has to help me move at times. At others, the Crohn's makes it very difficult to remember when to eat. This makes it so I sometimes go 8+ hours without eating because my body does not tell me to do so. This makes me very unsteady. Over time, I realized that the best way to help me would be to obtain a service dog.
I met with a local service dog agency called Ears, Eyes, Nose & Paws. They raise and train Mobility Assistance and Medical alert dogs and provide ongoing support for those who graduate through their program. It costs about $50,000 to raise, train, and place an assistance dog, but EENP charges $20,000 to place an assistance dog that has been individually trained for tasks specific to a client. They require a $600 training seminar to make sure each client is equipped with what they need to thrive with a service dog.
I was approved for a Medical Alert dog that will be crossed trained for Mobility Assistance in November of 2019. I have 6 months to a year to obtain the required funds to train and care for my new assistant. I truly believe this pup will increase my quality of life and help me maintain independence when I have no help to ambulate on my own and care for my patients. This dog will also remind me to take my medication before the pain overcomes me, alert me when it's time to eat, and more. I'm trying to do all I can to raise the funds, but as a veterinary technician, I don't get paid nearly as much as people think I do. I am living paycheck to paycheck, and I desperately need help figuring something out.
Thank you for your consideration!
About Client Fundraising Donations
You can make a donation directly to EENP to support an assistance dog placement with Jasmine Glancy using this donation form. You will receive an email confirmation of your donation sent immediately, but the donation total and your name and comments may take up to an hour to update on the site. Your donation made on this page will offset the placement and training fees that EENP will charge for Jasmine's placement. We will let Jasmine know that you made a donation and will keep her updated on the total amount raised, but will not share the amount of individual donations with her.
The placement and training fees that EENP charges for our assistance dog placements cover less than half of the cost to raise, train, and place an assistance dog and then support the placement for the life of the partnership. If donations are received in excess of Jasmine's placement fees, those donations will go toward EENP's general operations, supporting the full cost of our placements with Jasmine and other clients.
Eyes Ears Nose and Paws is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, and donations to EENP are generally tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. However, please note that donations made in support of a placement for a particular individual are generally NOT tax-deductible, per IRS guidance (see IRS Publication 526, page 6, column 2, "Contributions to Individuals", second bullet). If tax deductibility is important to you, please speak with your tax professional before donating to be sure that your donation is made in a way that meets your tax requirements.
Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Branch at 919-807-2000. The license is not an endorsement by the State.