Hi Friends! Thank you for taking the time to read a little about Camden’s story and this exciting new chapter in his life.
Camden was diagnosed with Phelan McDermid Syndrome (PMS) at 11 months old after failing to hit typical milestones. He is one of roughly 3,100 around the world diagnosed with this syndrome. It presents a variety of challenges in his life and symptoms can vary person to person but typically cause a wide range of medical, intellectual and behavioral challenges. Most people with PMS have moderate to severe developmental and intellectual impairment, most do not develop functional language. Autism and sleep disorders are common and about 40% of people develop seizures that range from mild to severe. Individuals with PMS have very high pain thresholds and are unable to regulate their body temperatures which puts them at risk of overheating. Hypotonia (low or weak muscle tone), chronic gastroesophageal reflux and feeding challenges are additional challengesCamden faces day to day.
There is no treatment for Phelan McDermid syndrome but we are able to focus on treating the symptoms that Camden experiences. This includes a tremendous amount of physical, occupational, speech and behavioral therapies every week, being followed by about 10 specialists/doctors and attending a school in our district that has an incredible special education class.
It is hard to put into words just how amazing Camden is. He is such a happy little boy and genuinely lights up a room when he walks in. He is extremely social and loves being around people. Camden is now 7.5 years old and while he is becoming more independent each day the challenges we face as his caretakers are becoming much harder. Camden loves school but has a difficult time with change and transitions. This becomes very hard during school holidays, summer breaks, or even on the weekends. Camden lacks any sort of safety awareness which is extremely scary. He will run towards a busy street, he doesn’t understand that an oven is hot, or if he jumps into a pool that he can not swim. Because Camden is non-verbal and has trouble communicating his wants and needs, he becomes very frustrated and his behaviors intensify.
When we heard about the benefits of a service dog, we knew this was going to be life changing for Camden. It will give him more independence, provide much needed safety and help with what could become dangerous behaviors. This dog will be trained to notice signs of Camden becoming overwhelmed, help him adjust to the transitions of everyday life and worst case scenario, alert us of oncoming seizures and can track him if he gets lost.
A service dog will make such a positive impact on Camden’s life that no amount of therapy or medication is able to do. We can’t express how excited we are to watch Camden bond with this incredible dog and all the benefits it will provide to him. This will become his person, a sense of security and the biggest blessing in our families day to day lives.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for helping make this dream a reality!
Donate to Camden’s dog below
Training a service dog to meet our child’s requirements can be very costly. On average it costs between $40,000-60,000 to raise, train, and place a service dog at 4 Paws for Ability. While 4 Paws for Ability fundraises to help cover a significant portion of this cost, families are tasked with raising $20,000 of that amount or $23,000 if receiving a poodle, doodle or papillon. We hope that we can receive assistance from our beloved family and friends to help make our service dog dream a reality.