Prescott Valley resident Calvin Bosick acted like most toddlers for his first 3 years: walking, jumping, talking up a storm and just having fun. But a diagnosis of Doose Syndrome - a medication-resistant form of epilepsy that starts in early childhood - changed that.
It's been a year since Calvin began experiencing multiple seizures every day, including grand mal seizures in his sleep, drop seizures during the day, and absent seizures that make him simply stare into space without communicating.
Calvin, now 4, was diagnosed with the syndrome following multiple trips to Phoenix Children's Hospital.
"It took us a while to figure out what was really going on. said Tracy Bosick, Calvin's mother. "Essentially, he just woke up one day and started having seizures for no rhyme or reason. It's really dangerous, because you never know when they're going to happen."
His condition has dramatically changed the young family's life over the last year. Tracy Bosick had to quit her job at Mountain Valley Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, where she worked as a nursing assistant, so she could take her son to therapy visits and doctor appointments, and monitor him full-time.
Calvin was taken out of school. He now wears a helmet when playing on the floor at his home. He takes medication, which his mother says does little good, and is on a special diet. Tracy and her husband Jacob learned to eat one-handed at the dinner table, keeping one hand near their son at all times. Just in case.
"Every facet of daily living. He can't do any of it by himself now," Tracy said. "We've tried seven different medications. After about the fourth or fifth medicine, our neurologist said that his case was more severe, and more complicated, than what he normally deals with. He suggested we see an epileptologist.
"There's no reason the doctors know of that all this happened. He was a completely normal kid in every way."
The Bosick family hopes to raise $30,000 for a specially trained seizure alert dog, which will warn the family of a seizure and help catch Calvin should his parents not be close enough. The dog might also be able to detect a seizure before it occurs and alert family members beforehand.
"Because of the things it would have to learn how to do - a seizure dog is really the most educated and helpful dog there is - we would also have to commit a certain amount of time to stay at the facility that's training the dog," Tracy said. "They want the child and the dog to bond."
For that reason, the family is also raising funds to cover travel and stay expenses as part of their fundraising efforts.
Family and friends began an online effort, through youcaring.com, to raise money for the seizure dog. Calvin's website can be found online at www.youcaring.com/calsseizurepals. Donations can also be made to account #0453038001 at National Bank of Arizona.
Jacob Bosick said that, right now, they're using the account for fundraising, but hope to start a nonprofit if they can raise enough money.
"We want to be able to use it to help other people eventually," the 2004 Bradshaw Mountain High graduate said.
Other fundraisers are also planned in the Prescott Valley community, some to coincide with November's Epilepsy Awareness Month.
"There is a possibility with Doose Syndrome he has, that when they become 10, kids have grown out of it. It could leave just as quickly as it came and not come back," Bosick said. "We don't know if he'll grow out of it. There's a very good possibility he may never grow out of it, but if he does, the dog is one more thing we can do to help him and safeguard his future."
Posted: Tuesday, November 12, 2013
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I'm working on training my 3rd Service Dog (One I'd lost in January, and one that belongs to my Mom). At a certain point my 3rd trainee will be registered through http://www.registeredservicedogs.com/ One of my dogs was, unbeknownst to us, a natural seizure alert dog (he was just a pet the first 4 years of his life- after working with him we noticed his knack for detecting seizures beforehand). I'm experimenting with my new trainee to see if he also has this special ability.
Mom and I have a working theory on Service Dogs, both by what we have seen in others and have witnessed ourselves. It seems to Mom and I both that the naturally clingier dogs (not breed, but individual dog) the more likely they will become special needs. They focus so much on being part of the family and watching over them that these dogs begin to anticipate negative changes- i.e. seizures. They don't have to be the smartest dog, just the more in-sync one.
We don't know if this helps or not, but we thought it might be worth it for the Bosick Family to know that there may be a chaper and more down-home family-friendly alternative out there.