ST. GEORGE — A local family is holding a golf tournament and raffle fundraiser to provide their 11-year-old son with a service dog to help him manage his diabetes.
Ryklyn Brimhall was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in November of 2016. This November, he will be turning 12 and his family is looking to fundraise for a service animal that will help identify trends in blood sugar.
The main reason the family has been interested in a service dog is due to the uncertainty of blood sugar levels while Brimhall is asleep. Brimhall’s step-dad, Larry Brough, said the dog will add some reassurance for the boy’s mom.
“The biggest thing with Type 1 diabetics is when they are sleeping,” Brough said. “That’s when most of them will go so low that they go into a coma. The dog will sleep with him every night, and if he drops low in the middle of the night and doesn’t realize it, the dog will come get us and alert him. It gives more comfort so that she can sleep with some peace of mind and not be up all hours of the night.”
Since being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, Brimhall has heard about the service dogs and the family has been looking into it, but the cost seemed to be too high. While wondering how they could pay for a puppy and its necessary training, a friend had a litter of German shepherds and donated one of them to the cause.
After receiving the young German shepherd, named Pyper, the family decided to send it to Las Vegas for the necessary training needed to get service animal recognition. All the while, they have been trying to figure out ways to pay for the $15,000 training costs.
Diabetes service animals are trained using the saliva of the diabetic. This can be done due to the saliva’s change in smell at certain blood sugar levels.
Cotton swabs were salivated on while Brimhall was at various blood sugar levels, and those were sent to Las Vegas to help make sure Pyper was trained correctly.
“If his blood sugar is lower than it is supposed to be, it has a certain smell to it,” Brough said. “The dog can smell his saliva and tell what his blood sugar is, she will then give an indication to let you know that you are getting low.”
To help raise funds for the training costs, there is a golf tournament and raffle being held at the Coral Canyon Golf Course on Aug. 22.
Brimhall’s family has also set up a GoFundMe page as another outlet to raise funds.
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