We would like to start out by saying that this is in NO WAY affiliated with Crossfire Books, or Sylvia Day. We are simply fans of the books, just as you all are and we have a mutual friend who needs our help.
Most of you know her as @MrGideonCross on Twitter, but some of you know her as Nikita. In the last year her life has gone from bad to worse and now she needs your help. She suffers from a multitude of medical issues, and her doctors have stated that she requires a service dog. The only problem is she has nothing but $500 a month to live on. The cost of a fully trained service dog is $40,000. $10,000 of which is expected to be paid by the client. Twitter is her only outlet since becoming ill, she has no family and lives an almost entirely solitary existence. Up until the diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor, life seemed like it may fall into place. That was not the case. In the last year and a half alone she has had to flee an abusive relationship which left her homeless and living in a shelter where anything of value she had was stolen. She lived there for nine months until she found permanent housing. Unfortunately at the time she found housing her health fell further into decline. The brain tumor she has is benign, but inoperable and is situated in her cerebellum. To operate would leave her paralyzed. There is no choice but to live with it and the symptoms it brings. She has severe vertigo which means her world constantly spins, the tumor causes her to suffer from Ataxia (the inability to control her gait and control muscle coordination) So she staggers and often falls. She has acquired Nystagmus which is uncontrollable moving of the eyes which causes her to fatigue after only a few blocks of walking and it has also taken away the simplest joys of watching a TV, reading a book and if you've seen her tweet, you know she makes a lot of mistakes. Twitter is her only life line out these days. She has lost 65 percent of the hearing in her left ear and 75 percent in her right ear and now has to wear hearing aids as she has been struck by vehicles because her brain no longer registers the direction of sound. She cannot identify sound coming from any direction. It simply sounds like it is coming from above. Her vision has declined to the point where eyeglasses can no longer correct her vision. It will only decline from here on out.
The doctors are requesting that she get a service dog for the above reasons but also for the fact she suffers from Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Bi-polar disorder, PTSD and debilitating anxiety attacks. So great is her anxiety that she is only able to leave her home unassisted for 30 minutes out of every month. She is unable to leave her home unassisted and since the budget cuts to services have been so great, she is simply left to stay in her apartment. There is no help in getting to and from Doctor's appointments of which she must go almost weekly, and there is no way for her to attend school where she was to study to be a peer support worker for people with mental illness and the homeless in Vancouver's DTES, the poorest urban postal code in Canada. The brain tumor and psychiatric problems are compounded by the fact she suffered a brain injury in a drowning accident in 1995, this has wiped out her short term memory and some of her long term memory. Her illness also causes dissociative states where she loses all touch with reality and requires tactile stimulation to pull herself out of these states. That is kind of hard to do when you have no family or friends to support or check if you are okay. She has flooded her home on multiple occasions and now faces eviction because she forgot she was cooking and the building alarms were set off. The aid of a service dog would mitigate so many of these issues and give her back her freedom. We have set up a fundraising site to assist Nikita in getting her service dog. (please see link below). Thank you all for reading, and if you wouldn't mind, share this post so that we can help Nikita get the better quality of life that she deserves. From the very bottom of our hearts, we thank you.
*Please refrain from posting any negative comments on this post. We welcome all positive and supportive comments though!!
List of tasks the dog will be trained for
Apathy – tactile stimulation
Feelings of isolation – tactile stimulation/ initiate activity outside the home
Anxiety – Deep pressure stimulation/Guide her to a safe place away from over stimulation
Suicidal ideation/ Self-mutilation – Grounding
Memory loss – remind to take medication/Find keys/phone/hearing aid remote/tv remote/
Disorganization – remind to brush her teeth and shower and eat
racing thoughts – tactile stimulation
irritability – alert to manic episode
increase in heart rate – alert to incipient panic/anxiety attack
Fight or flight response – guide her to a safe place away from over stimulation
pounding heart, shaking – tactile stimulation
Nystagmus/Vertigo/Dizzyness and loss of balance – Brace or counterbalance
Restlessness or distractibility – alert to rising anxiety
Fear of leaving home – initiate activity outside the home
social withdrawal – initiate activity outside the home
feeling overwhelmed/ impending meltdown – guide her to a safe place
Startle response – alert to presence of others/stand between her and others
sensory overload – tactile or deep pressure stimulation
balance – counter balance or brace me when using stairs
inattention to her surroundings block her from stepping off of curbs
balance – balance when stepping off of curbs or stepping off public transit
Alert to water running/pot boiling over on stove
falls – vocal alert that she has fallen ie: barking
Hypersomnolence – wake her up at the same time every day. Tactile stimulation
Migraine – alert to incipient migraine attack.
Donate to Nikita