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Tag Archive | "Service Dog"

Boy meets goal to get service dog


Pictured is six-year-old Ian Unger and his sister Alexia. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

A six-year-old boy with type one diabetes who decided to sell pumpkins to raise money to get a service dog exceeded his goal after his story went viral last weekend.

Ian Unger, 6, is the son of Jeff Unger and Katrina Christensen, of Pierson, and a kindergartner at McNaughton Elementary in Howard City. A week before he turned four, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. 

Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. The cause is unknown, but usually, the body’s own immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

There is no cure, and treatment focuses on managing blood sugar levels with insulin, diet and lifestyle to prevent complications. Ian has an insulin pump and a Dexcom CGM, which reads his blood glucose 24 hours a day. 

Like most kids his age, he wants to ride the bus to school with his friends, but would need an aide to ride with him, and there isn’t one available. So Ian decided that he would begin to raise money to get a service dog to ride with him. A service dog will be able to alert him when his blood sugar is too high or too low; but unfortunately, a service dog is not covered by insurance, and the cost could be $20,000 or more.

After doing some brainstorming, he decided to start by selling pumpkins. So he planted the pumpkins, raised them, and then sold them on the side of the road. 

Last Friday, October 12, his story began to hit the airwaves, and people began coming from all around to buy Ian’s pumpkins. He even ran out—and had to get more. “Ian would like to thank Tony Hawley for his donation of a whole truckload of pumpkins, and Jamie Bucholtz for his donation as well,” said his dad. 

Between the sale of pumpkins and a facebook fundraiser for those who couldn’t get there to buy pumpkins, Ian has exceeded his $20,000 goal and has now ordered his service alert dog. It will be at least a year before it’s trained. Any funding in excess of what’s needed will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

People are still coming to buy pumpkins from Ian, and the family has had phone calls both from local and national media outlets—even from Good Morning, America.

“I couldn’t be prouder of my son,” said his dad. “This all happened because of him.”

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Hometown Happenings


Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.


Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser

Jan. 12: Help support Makhella’s Service Dog journey. Kayla has recently been diagnosed with a muscle deficiency in her eyes leaving her with low vision and near legally blind which causes difficulty in simple activities of daily living. Along with Kayla’s cognitive impairment from a tragic birth causes her to struggle with daily activities. As a vibrant 20 year old, Kayla is trying to be as independent as possible in her journey through adulthood. Doctors and Therapist both have suggested a Service Dog. So her journey begins… please support her journey by coming to Big Boy of Cedar Springs for an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Friday, January 12, 5pm to 8pm. $12 per adult, $10 per child. Call 616-263-7025 for more info. #2

Praise the Lord at Cowboy Church

Jan. 14:  2nd Chance will be having Cowboy Church Sunday, January 14th at 6:00 pm. It will be at 2nd Chance School at 810 17 Mile Road, Cedar Springs (corner of 17 Mile Road and Olin Lakes Road). Music and Ministry will be shared by the group, Stroll Over Heaven, who will share their musical talent and the gospel. Invite your family and friends. Cowboy Church is held every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. Each Service will have different people sharing God’s word and music. Cowboy Church will introduce you to 2nd Chance and its vision. The school is in the building stage, which when completed, will teach troubled teens through God and the horse. If you have questions, call 293-2150. See you there! #2b

Lions Club Pancake Breakfast

Jan. 20: The Cedar Springs Lions Club’s Pancake Breakfast will be held Saturday, Jan. 20, Feb. 17, Mar. 24 and Apr. 21 from 7 – 11 am at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, on the corner of Main and Church. $5 per person, children under 10 eat free. Pancakes, eggs,  sausage links, coffee and juice. Proceeds to assist sight conservation. #2,3b

Dave Ramsey – Financial Peace University

Jan. 21: What if you could always buy what you need interest-free? What if you could actually keep a percentage of your paycheck? Guess what? You CAN! With Dave Ramsey’s class Financial Peace University, you CAN take control of your money. If you’re interested in learning how to better manage your money, we’d like you to join us at Gowen Bible Church – Meddler Campus (16415 Meddler Ave., Sand Lake). Classes run every Sunday evening, Jan. 21 through Mar. 18, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. You can register online at www.daveramsey.com. Contact Leslie Wood at leslie@lawood.net or 989-287-0167 for more info. #2,3b

Owl Walk at HCNC

Jan. 26: “Twit twoo” It’s time for our yearly Owl Walk! Local naturalist and expert Greg Swanson is back to introduce you to owl biology! Greg will start with an indoor presentation, then we will all head outdoors to see if we can observe these perfect predators. Maybe one will even stop to say ‘hello’ as you listen to Greg call for them. Friday, January 26th from 6 pm to 8 pm. This is a 12 year old and up event. Please flashlights ONLY AS NEEDED. Please no rowdiness or loud noises – we are in their habitat to listen, learn and explore. Free child care with crafts will be provided for children 11 and under. Non-members $5 per person or $15 per family of 4+, members $3 per person or $10 per family of 4+. Pre-registration requested, www.howardchristensen.org. 616-675-3158, Howard Christensen Nature Center, 16160 Red Pine Drive, Kent City. #2 

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