A 12-year-old girl needs a Christmas miracle so she and her family can get her a service dog that will help keep her safe and warn her caregivers when she's having a seizure.

Twelve-year-old Theresa Neumann of Rome was born with several significant disabilities including seizures, lack of speech, developmental delays, Celiac disease, and autism. In spite of extensive testing, doctors haven't been able to determine the cause of her seizures.

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Theresa's family has applied for a specialized service dog that will be trained to alert when Theresa has a seizure, as well as help with her autistic tendencies and be her constant companion, friend, and protector, as Theresa is unable to call for help.

Photo courtesy Jackie Neumann
Photo courtesy Jackie Neumann

Theresa's mom, Jackie, says the biggest help will be alerting when Theresa has a seizure. "Her seizures aren't very well controlled at the moment and she tends to have most of them while she's sleeping lately. My husband and I don't sleep very well because we're always trying to listen out for her."

Unfortunately, getting a service dog is a complicated and expensive process. It costs between $40,000 - $60,000 to procure and train the dog. The family is responsible for raising $17,000, just for the dog.

"Once we finish fundraising, we get assigned to a training class that's about 2 years out. Right now, the next class being filled is towards the end of 2021. Once the training class comes, we have to go out to Xenia, OH for 12 days to learn how to handle the dog and get certified to take it out in public," Theresa's mom Jackie tells us.

The family hopes to raise an additional $4,000 - $5,000 to cover travel expenses related to the trip to Ohio.

Jackie says with the help of the community and some grants, they're actually quite close to the $17,000. They're currently seeking donations for a new fundraiser, Helping with Hot Dogs. If you can help with some Christmas magic by providing a food item, raffle items, or a monetary donation, please contact the organizers here.

Donations can be made here on Facebook or on the 4 Paws website, http://4PawsForAbility.org/donate-now. Please put Theresa's name in the description so the donation is credited to her.

Checks, with Theresa's name in the memo section, can also be mailed directly to 4 Paws:

4 Paws for Ability
In Honor of Theresa Neumann
253 Dayton Ave.
Xenia, OH 45385

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