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Family raising funds to buy special watch dog for diabetic girl

MORAN — Sierra Disinger, 10, is a bright-eyed girl battling Type 1 juvenile diabetes.

The Clinton County child and her family are turning to the community to raise funds to get a Labrador retriever that will alert Sierra when her glucose level gets dangerously low or high.

The normal range for blood sugar is 80 to 120 milligrams per deciliter.

“It is very scary when I check my blood glucose and I see a number like 29,” she said. “I get a little shaky and start sweating. I feel like Jello.”

Her highest glucose level was 555 mg/dL.

The special pooches are called Diabetes Alert Dogs or D.A.D. Warren Retrievers in Orange, Va., trains and sells the dogs. Sierra is trying to get a Labrador retriever.

If Sierra’s blood sugar levels crash while she is sleeping, the dogs can even wake her up. If the dog can’t awaken her, it will roust Sierra’s parents.

“I’m scared to go to sleep because I’m afraid I might not wake up, so mommy is constantly checking my sugar during the night,” the girl said.

The diabetes dog also will be trained to bring Sierra juice boxes, candy and even dial 911 with a special device. Trainers will come periodically to improve the dog’s skills.

The Disinger family and friends are distributing donation canisters in Frankfort, Rossville and Lafayette. People also can donate online or by mail.

In February 2011, Sierra was sick and thirsty. Her parents, Jason and Anna Disinger, thought she had the flu bug. When she didn’t get better for several days, they took her to a doctor in Lebanon who said tests confirmed she was diabetic. The diminutive girl already had lost 12 pounds.

A 24-hour stay in the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at Indianapolis included a training course for Sierra’s parents. They learned how to monitor Sierra’s blood sugar, what she should eat or not eat, and how to give injections of insulin.

Now Sierra wears an insulin pump and checks her blood sugar eight to 12 times a day or about 3,650 finger pricks a year.

“The doctors said she will never outgrow the diabetes,” said Anna Disinger.

Sierra’s older brothers, Garrett, 16, and Trevor, 13, are supportive of their kid sister.

“I’d like to get some of her Skittles,” Garrett said with a laugh.

Sierra has candy in the house in case her blood sugar crashes.

Despite all her challenges, the little girl keeps on smiling. She even came up with a T-shirt and slogan.

The slogan reads: “Just so you know, my pancreas is in hibernation for the rest of my life.”

On the back of the T-shirt are two angel wings made of glittery bling.

It will be about six to eight months before Sierra will receive a trained dog who is 3 or 4 months old.

 

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