SEATTLE - 15-year-old Grace Pilo from Seattle was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 10 years old, and on Monday, she got a surprise that could literally save her life.
Grace has a disease in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin. If her blood sugar gets too low, she could pass out. Grace said that's her biggest fear.
"It's the not knowing if I'm going to wake up the next morning when I go to sleep," she said.
Q13 News reporter Chynna Greene helped set up a surprise: Grace was given a diabetic service dog that will alert her before her blood sugar gets to a dangerous level. The non-profit 4E Healing Hearts, based out of Las Vegas, provided the 10-month-old Goldendoodle at no cost to the family.
Grace decided to name her dog Penny.
The family submitted videos nominating Grace for the companion, which can cost upwards of $25,000.
"From the moment I saw the video, I absolutely loved her," said Jeanette Forrey, owner of 4E Healing Hearts. "She does dance and she's so active in the community and really giving younger children with Type 1 diabetes a role model."
Forrey said Penny will be trained on Grace's scent samples and then she'll be able to identify if she's too high or too low out of a healthy range.
"The nose will actually catch the drops and spikes faster than her technology does now by 20 minutes to an hour," said Forrey.
Forrey said if Grace's blood sugar slips into a low while she's in bed and there's nobody there, Penny will be trained to wake her up and/or get help.
"It just gives me a piece of mind knowing that she can go to college if she wants and not be afraid to be away from home," said Kaeanna. "And a teammate to just kick diabetes butt and not let it interfere with her dreams and goals."
Penny will stay with the Pilos until December until Penny is old enough to go back to Las Vegas for her official service dog training.
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