At the age of 4, Julia was diagnosed with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder. She loves crafts, running, surfing and helping others. She actively participates in Special Olympics and various Autism Programs.
Life turned upside down for Julia when her great grandma died last year. Mama San was her biggest cheerleader and rarely missed attending any events. A huge hole was left in her heart.
She entered 5th grade struggling with this loss and soon would begin getting teased. In November she admitted to feeling like everything was too much for her. She sat in front of me crying; her spirit completely crushed. We set her up with a therapist, accessed other services and created a support system for her at school.
Over the course of the year the teasing turned into bullying. She would cry after school begging me not to send her and each morning she would cry telling me she was too sick to go to. Everyday this would be repeated. I was in contact with the school often to address the bullying.
Julia became withdrawn, isolated and lost interest in all the activities she once loved. The meltdowns she experienced in her younger years were returning and frequently. In addition to fighting to stay strong against the bully, Julia was fighting a much deeper battle. A battle against her own thoughts and feelings. Anxiety and depression. The fight is difficult and she continues to struggle despite the various supports that have been put in place for her. The need is deeper.
Back in March we attended an event where Julia took notice of a service dog in training. Her eyes followed the dogs every move. At this point a service dog hadn't crossed my mind.
Fast forward to May. Strong as one may be, the constant fight was wearing on Jules. We conferred with her treatment team that agreed a service dog is needed to improve quality of life.
I reached out to several programs looking for direction. Ambassador Bullies would respond and offer assistance. Kim would eventually share a picture of a pup who would soon be available. It would be Sunni, the service dog in training that Julia saw over a month earlier.
The process is long and costly but we believe it's worth it. Our goal is to raise $9500.
Julia's father is a law enforcement officer who already works as many extra details as possible to cover medical costs for Julia's younger sister who has an incurable medical condition.
The photo seen is of Jules and Sunni. It is being turned into a 300 piece puzzle and we are hoping to have all 300 pieces sponsored. For each donation received, donors name and location will be written on back of piece. Puzzle will be framed and placed in Julia's room so she knows how many helped on this journey.
We will be working with Sunni to ensure the match is right. Regardless, all funds raised will go towards finding the paws that fit.