MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) A local family says a service dog that helps their teenager with diabetes is invaluable, but they are struggling to pay for the $17,000 investment.
Noah Lenwai said, "He's fun to play with. I wrestle with him and play football with him." But for 13-year-old Noah, the dog is more than a best friend. Lenwai said, "If I didn't listen to him, I could go into a coma or have seizures."
Noah's family said Memphis, a 6 ½ month old black Labrador has saved Noah's life multiple times. Noah's mother, Brandy Allen said, "He does a job for Noah that I can't do. He is able to sense when his blood sugar is going low or high. I can't do that unless by poking his finger but Memphis can smell and he knows the scent."
Memphis alerts of danger by whining and pawing until Noah does something about it. Allen added, "The nice thing about Memphis - he gives us a 20-30 minute notice before Noah goes into dangerous numbers so we are able to keep his numbers at a safe range."
The family said Memphis keeps his eyes on Noah all the time. Noah's football coach, Frank Endres said, "It's an amazing thing that this dog can sense from all the way across the field so it has been good for the team because Noah can continue to play, and we don't have to worry about him being at risk."
The family said they are worried about where they are going to get the money to pay for the dog. They had to promise to pay $17,000 for all his special training from Guardian Angel Service dogs.
Allen said, "[It's] financially a great stress on family because it's so expensive, a lot of stress but all we've been doing is fundraising and dealing with diabetes all of this year. It's all consuming. We're doing everything we can to keep our son safe, and we have a great community that has surrounded us with great love and support."
Several businesses have held fundraisers for the dog with the most recent being Ron Jon's restaurant raising almost $600. There are other organizations that are planning to hold fundraisers in the next couple of weeks.
Right now Memphis does not go to school with Noah because the dog is not fully trained. The family said by next school year people will see the pair hitting the books together.