By Joel Hillan
WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – Twelve-year-old Rylynn Fendley of Westminster has to manage her epilepsy day and night. For the first years of Rylynn’s life, her mother Veronica was left to do the managing and worrying alone.
“Your child is seizing,” Veronica explained. “You don’t know when and you don’t know how often, so that was difficult. You’re living off of little to no sleep. You’re living off coffee or caffeine and it was difficult, very difficult.”
Now they have an ally in the fight—a goldendoodle named Jessie. She has been specially trained to do everything from wake up Rylynn during a seizure to grabbing her medicine and bringing it to mom when a seizure happens.
Rylynn, who is also on the Autism spectrum, takes comfort in hugs from Jessie. Mom takes comfort in knowing that a nighttime seizure won’t be deadly, a scenario Julie Hutchison knows all too well. She lost her daughter Chelsea to a nighttime seizure in 2009 when Chelsea was just 16 years old.
“One morning my husband went to give her her morning dose of medication, because she always did better when she had that in her system before her feet hit the ground and she had passed away through the middle of the night,” said Julie Hutchinson, co-founder of the Chelsea Hutchison Foundation.
In her honor, Julie created the Chelsea Hutchison Foundation. Jessie, a special bed monitor and even a trip to Disneyland were all made possible for Veronica and Rylynn through grants from the foundation, helping others feel peace where she felt so much pain and loss.
A walk is being held to help benefit the Chelsea Hutchison Foundation on Sunday, Sept. 24 at Clement Park. You can sign up for the walk at www.stompcolorado.org or make a donation directly to www.chelseahutchisonfoundation.org.