A two-year old boy battling epilepsy and a viral brain disease needs a potentially lifesaving service dog.
We first told you about Tucker Forster earlier this month. His family was trying to raise money for a service dog, and now, thanks to ABC11 viewers, they have the means to get one.
Jennifer Forster, Tucker's mom, says a service dog could potentially save Tucker's life by monitoring him while he sleeps, alerting her if he has a seizure, so they can get him the medicine he needs on time.
The community came together in the weeks since our first story, rallying around the two-year-old. Folks have donated to his crowdfunding page and attended a motorcycle ride fundraiser, collecting tens of thousands of dollars in the process.
Tucker's father, Robert Forster, says he can't believe the family was able to reach their goal so quickly.
"We thought it would take probably years before we got that amount. The price of the service dog was a bit sticker shocking, like 'whoa, $17,000 that's a lot of money,'" Robert said. "It's a huge blessing. It's amazing what the community did - they pulled together and helped us reach our goal."
He says people all over the country have seen the story and responded.
"It's amazing, my family from Florida is talking to me about their friends that are following Tucker, and I have friends across the country in other military bases, like 'oh I'm still following Tucker,' 'I'm still pulling for Tucker, let us know if you need anything,'" Robert said.
The Forsters say that getting a service dog is no easy process, and they had to be approved first.
"You can't walk up to these people and say 'here's my money, give me a dog,'" Robert explained. "These dogs are trained from birth to be service dogs."
Tucker was just approved for a service dog by an organization in Wilmington. However, before the training can start, the service dog has to pick Tucker in processes called a "bump."
"It's all on how the dog and the handler interact," Robert said. "There's no connection there, then they're not going to force it," Robert said.
That means more road trips for the Forster family - all of it made possible because of your donations.
"It's amazing, we can't wait to get a bump and to begin working with a dog. It's so overwhelming for everything to happen so quickly, it's kind of shocking," Robert said.
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ABC11 Together: Boy battling seizures approved for service dog
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