A Bismarck teenager living with health concerns got him and his family to seek a little extra help.
That help could come from something as simple as camaraderie.
“The date is still noticeable. He was diagnosed on January 20, 2019, “said Nicholas Johnson.
Johnson is referring to his 14-year-old son, Aidan, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was just 12 years old.
“The lifestyle change is huge, but he’s handled it a lot better than I ever would,” said Nicholas.
He says Aidan has essentially no limits.
“It didn’t stop him at all. He still does pretty much everything, ”said Nicholas. “He’s a hockey player, he’s a lacrosse player, he’s an excellent cellist.”
But there is a barrier that has held him back.
“When you are active and the more activity you do, the more your body naturally burns the sugar in your blood,” said Nicholas. “So you can go deep very quickly without realizing it, and he doesn’t feel its ups or downs.”
Nicholas says this could cause serious health problems.
“So this is where the service animal comes in,” he said.
Two years ago, the family applied for a service dog to a Kansas nonprofit.
“We conducted a series of tests on service animals and lurking dogs with diabetes to alert them to highs and lows in blood sugar,” said Nicholas.
And just last week Aidan was given permission to see his furry support friend.
“I was super excited. I didn’t know what to make of it. I was happy because I finally have helpers like a set in stone, ”said Aidan.
But this helper is not cheap.
“Most service animal organizations we looked at would charge us between $ 25,000 and $ 30,000 for the animal,” said Nicholas.
He says the nonprofit that approved him is asking for $ 5,000, but that’s still a big expense, especially if you bring the dog back to North Dakota as well.
So they started fundraising.
“We worked with the Mandan Dakota Lions Club and they ran a 50/50 raffle to benefit Aidan and his service dog,” said Nicholas.
The family still has a long way to go before reaching their destination, but they refuse to give up until Aidan has his new best friend.
“It adds an extra layer of safety net for my wife and I, and Aidan, of course, to monitor his diabetes levels,” said Nicholas.
He says Aidan and his mother plan to fly to Kansas in June to train the dog for a week before bringing the dog home.
For more information on how to get Aidan’s service friend home, see Click here.