Members of the Nevada Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America have raised nearly $15,000 to help a local family afford a life-saving therapy dog for their daughter.
Ellie Davis was diagnosed with Refractory Epilepsy when she was four months old. Many types of epilepsy can be managed with medication, but Refractory Epilepsy cannot. Ellie suffers seizures about every three days, usually at night, and is at high risk of the leading cause of death in people with epilepsy, SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy Patients). While the exact cause of death is still unknown, researchers believe that a seizure causes an irregular heart rhythm or that the person suffocates from impaired breathing, fluid in the lungs, or ends up face down in bedding.
Because of the severity of her disease and the very real threat of death, Ellie, now 13 years old, has never slept in her own bedroom, been able to hang out with friends, or enjoy any time by herself away from her parents or brothers.
After years of failed treatments, Ellie’s parents Janine and Pete Davis, were coming to terms with the sad reality that their daughter would never be able to live a normal life. Then they learned about service dogs that can detect seizures up to an hour before they occur. They were elated by this new hope, but the reality of acquiring such a dog proved cost prohibitive for them to do alone. Ellie’s parents reached out to friends and family who helped spread the word and fundraise for this life-saving therapy. About $10,000 was raised, but still short of the $25,000 price tag. The Davises were again beginning to lose faith that they would be able to provide Ellie with a therapy that might not only save her life, but also provide her the independence a 13-year-old rightfully deserves.
When Justin Ivory, owner of A-1 Steel and Past President of AGC, learned about Ellie, he and his wife, Toni, led the effort to raise the remaining $15,000. Through generous donations made by AGC members to the AGC Community Services Fund, Ellie will soon be the proud and grateful owner of a new service dog.
The dog will be trained by Loyalty Service Dogs in Mesquite, Nevada. There, the dog will undergo intense training to detect the chemical reaction that happens in the body prior to and during a seizure. Dogs are trained to alert before the seizure happens, however if the dog does not pick up the scent in time they provide deep pressure therapy during the seizure (like a firm hug) during the seizure. They are also taught to go and get help while the seizure is ongoing.
“With this dog by her side, Ellie will finally be able to live the life she deserves knowing if she needs help, he will find it for her.” Janine Davis said. “Ellie has always loved animals, and wants to be a veterinarian. What better way for her to look to her future than for her to have a dog she can love and take care of while he loves and takes care of her?”
Although this chapter in Ellie’s journey has a happy ending, she still has a serious medical condition that will require life-long attention and medical care at great expense to her family. If you would like to help Ellie and her family, you can make a donation at any Bank of America to the Eileen Davis Fund, account number 122400724.
The Nevada Chapter AGC is comprised of Northern Nevada’s top general contractors, specialty contractors and building professionals. The Chapter’s 300-plus members make up a bulk of the area’s construction firms and related businesses. The construction industry accounts for more than 15,000 Washoe County jobs and shows one of the highest average hourly wages at nearly $21, according to the Nevada Department of Employment. The Nevada Chapter AGC’s success over the years can be directly attributed to working together to build a better community. AGC members build our hospitals, roads, runways, schools, and parks. They also give back to the community through volunteering and financial donations, contributing to the quality of life that makes Nevada a great place to live. For more information, visit www.nevadaagc.org.