The Team

Team: Kasen Lacasse & Mochi

Disability: Type 1 diabetes

Partnership Type: Medical Alert (subtype: Diabetic Alert)  

Handler: Kasen Lacasse

Match Date: September 7, 2020

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About Kasen

Kasen is a focused 12 year old athlete. When he isn’t playing organized golf, baseball, or soccer, he relaxes by practicing his putting, playing ping pong, swimming, and riding his bike. The pandemic has put a crimp in his social game, but he does still get to spend time with one friend in the neighborhood. He lives with his mom Nikki , his dad Kevin, his older brother (and ping pong partner), and their pet snake and pig. He also has an older brother and older sister who don’t live at home.

Kasen was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes less than two years ago at age 10. He takes a lot of responsibility for his own diabetes care and he does an impressive job of it, evidenced by his recent A1c of 6.1.

When asked what is hard about having diabetes, Kasen says it is constantly having to manage his blood sugar and take all the variables into consideration. It takes a lot of time and worries him, but he’s adamant that diabetes doesn’t keep him from doing anything. His mom, Nikki, has a more nuanced view – that Kasen doesn’t limit himself, but she is cautious about what she lets him do and puts more limits on him, especially activities he does alone, because of her concerns for his safety.

Kasen gets extra help monitoring his blood glucose thanks to modern technology – his CGM alerts not just him but three family members when he goes out of range! Nikki says Kasen sleeps right through these loud alarms but wakes up quickly when touched, so his family has to wake up regularly in the night to help him manage his blood glucose.

With sports such a big part of his life, diabetes management around exercise is a lot of work – and stress – for Kasen. He tries to go into activity with his blood sugar in a good range to start because the adrenaline rush of the exercise makes his blood sugar rise then after a while it drops suddenly. That makes it harder to manage since he needs to protect against a high and a low. To top it off, when he’s hot, sweaty, and tired he is a lot more likely to miss the physiological signs that he’s out of range. CGM readings lag behind actual blood glucose by up to 20 minutes, so when his blood sugar is dropping quickly he could be long out of range by the time his CGM alarms.

When he’s out of range, Kasen can experience headaches, shakiness, and extreme hunger, and he is often goofy (lows), frustrated, or mad (highs). When he gets back in range (especially after a high), he may have a headache for 30-45 minutes.

About the Partnership

His diabetes impacts Kasen and his family in two major ways:

  1. Blood glucose management puts a lot of stress and responsibility on Kasen and his family. He manages his blood glucose very well but it clearly takes a lot of mental space for him. Multiple family members get fragmented sleep due to out of range blood glucose.
  2. Kasen has somewhat reduced independence because of his diabetes.

Kasen and his family hope for several things in a partnership with a diabetic alert dog:

  1. Alert: That a dog can wake Kasen up before or when his CGM alarms so that he can correct his blood glucose.
  2. Alert: That a dog can alert earlier than Kasen’s CGM to help him keep his blood glucose in range more. They would especially like to avoid scary lows.
  3. Social therapy: That working with an alert dog will help Kasen understand his diabetes better which would allow management to take less mental space.
  4. Alert: That an alert dog will allow Kasen to be safer when he takes breaks from using his CGM (which he likes to do).
  5. Social therapy: That the connection with his dog will give Kasen a fullness to his life and allow him to go to his parents less for help.
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