How a diabetic alert dog could help an Eldridge woman

A young woman in Eldridge is currently waiting to receive hers for atypical type 2 diabetes caused by rare genetic conditions.
Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 6:48 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ELDRIDGE, Iowa (KWQC) - A service dog can make a world of difference for those who need them. A young woman in Eldridge is currently waiting to receive hers for atypical type 2 diabetes caused by rare genetic conditions.

Twenty-two-year-old Kilynn Marsengill has multiple rare genetic conditions that impact her daily life. She was 11 years old when she was first diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a group of disorders that affect connective tissues supporting the skin, bones, blood vessels, and many other organs and tissues. At age 21 she was diagnosed with several other rare genetic conditions, including Lipodystrophy, Glycogen Storage Disease, and Mitochondrial Dysfunction.

“I’m often tired. Some days I can’t even get out of bed or I only get out of bed to go to the bathroom and back to bed, because I’m so fatigued and exhausted,” Kilynn said.

The conditions have led to a case of atypical type 2 diabetes, which causes her blood to be too acidic. When that happens, her blood sugars spike to dangerous levels, removing the oxygen from her muscles and leave her temporarily paralyzed and unresponsive. That’s why she’s been waiting in line for a diabetic alert dog. The dog would be able to give her an early detection of the attacks.

“The dog being here will be able to tell us when her sugars are going high which may be able to if it doesn’t stop her from going unresponsive, it will at least be able to get...she can get help before she does because I’m not always here,” her mom, Marilynn, said.

A diabetic alert dog will also help her gain newfound independence.

“It was really nerve-wracking to go out like by myself, or with my friends and not know if something happened if they knew how to respond or [if] I didn’t have time to get help, or find some place to sit and get the proper attention,” Kilynn said.

The cost of the service dog is $15,000 which includes the dog, training, certification, supplies, and delivery from Nevada where Diabetic Alert Dogs of America is located. The dogs go through scent training where the dog can detect when the owner has high, low, and normal sugar levels through spit.

They put a down payment for the dog to get on the list, which she has been on since March. As of Tuesday, Kilynn was next in line for a labrador retriever and number four in line for a golden retriever.

She’s planning to name the dog Willa.

“Means protector in German, which I thought was very fitting because she will be sort of my protector with all the diabetes and high blood sugar things going on,” Kilynn said.

As she waits to be matched with a dog, she’s looking forward to eventually heading back to the classroom as a teacher helper, something she’s been doing for years.

“She just, you know, would come in as much as she could anytime she could have an opportunity to be in my classroom,” said Diana Van Hal, a teacher in Eldridge. “For her to have her positive outlook and for her to have her just keep going and not give up is just so important. So I think this dog will give her that level of just assurance and security that she really needs,” she said.

“I love being in the classroom so this whole COVID not being able to be in the classroom has really been a hard time but I’m excited to be able to go back and kind of have, again this freedom of being able to not have to worry if I’m in the classroom if something’s going to happen,” Kilynn said.

The family said they have $4,300 dollars left to raise and if you’re interested in donating towards the cost of the dog you can through GoFundMe or PayPal.

Copyright 2021 KWQC. All rights reserved.