LAS VEGAS, Sept. 1, 2020 — Not even a pandemic can keep a boy from his dog. As National Service Dog Month begins today, a little boy from Alaska is finally home with the furry friend trained to save his life.
Seven-year-old Owen O'Bryan was born with Dravet Syndrome, an extremely rare form of epilepsy that affects an estimated 1 in 20,000 people in the United States. The severity of his seizures means Owen has never been alone, never slept in his own bed and never played outside unsupervised.
"I don't know too many kids who have to play hide-and-seek in plain sight, but Owen does, because we worry about him having a seizure," says his mom, Melissa. "And this is something Owen will never outgrow. He will always have a seizure disorder."
Three years ago, Owen's parents applied for a specially trained service dog to help their son achieve independence. This summer, they finally got the good news from the CARES Foundation in Concordia, Kansas: Owen's dog was ready. Owen's family, however, was not.
"So much timed had passed, we began to think it would never happen – and certainly not this summer during Covid. We weren't financially prepared." says Melissa. "Miracle Flights came through and took such a stress off our shoulders."
The national charity provided free plane tickets for Owen and his family to make the 5,000-mile round-trip journey to bring home "Juno," the seizure alert dog who is now Owen's constant companion.
"I see now the independence that is possible for Owen – the freedoms of any other little boy to play outside and not be in our eyesight or at arm's length at all times," says Melissa. "We are incredibly grateful to Miracle Flights for helping us get our newest family member. I know Owen and his dog will do great things."
For Owen, the first priority is getting his own bedroom, which he plans to decorate with a Star Wars theme.
Owen is one of the many children who must fly for specialized medical needs in spite of the Covid crisis. To help him and others reach life-changing medical services far from home, or to request a flight for your family, visit www.miracleflights.org.
About Miracle Flights
Miracle Flights is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides free air transportation to children and adults who need help reaching specialty medical care only available far from home. The organization, founded in 1985, has provided 132,482 flights and typically books more than 600 flights per month on commercial airlines across the United States. To request a flight, learn more or donate, call 800-359-1711 or visit miracleflights.org. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.
Press Contact: Erika Koff: (702) 261-0494 or [email protected]
SOURCE Miracle Flights