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Helping a man with epilepsy get a service dog

todayMay 21, 2024 7

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HARRISBURG, S.D. (KELO) — At just 22 years old, Brandon Calderon was living in Las Vegas when he was in a car crash. A nurse pulled him out and helped save his life.

“They didn’t rule it as epilepsy. They thought he had just fallen asleep and passed out,” Brandon’s mom Mary Calderon said.

But a year and a half later, Brandon suffered two more seizures. He was diagnosed with Primary Generalized Epilepsy, meaning his brain is always seizing. That’s when he and his mom decided to move to South Dakota to be closer to the Mayo Clinic. Living on his own, driving a car, even going for walks were no longer options.

“It’s changed our lives. It’s changed my whole life. And I mean, every day I’m scared. I start crying. I’m scared going upstairs that he’s going to not be alive,” Mary Calderon said.

But earlier this year, there was good news. The Calderons learned Brandon was put on an expedited list for a service dog through Domesti-PUPS.

“First, he was told it could be a year to a three-year wait and domestic pups called us and said they moved him up and it was only going to be a couple of months,” Mary Calderon said.

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That meant the Calderons had just two months to come up with $28,000. Smoken Dakota Kennels, a dog boarding service in Harrisburg, decided to help.

“An employee reached out and let us know about Brandon’s story. She’s friends with his mom. When we found out about his extremely rare case and his expedited service dog journey, SDK knew we had to help,” SDK Owner Teri Jo Olean said.

A couple organizations have already donated money to Brandon’s service dog fund, but about $17,000 still remains. SDK is helping the Calderons raise the rest of that money through a dock-diving event for dogs on June 1st.

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“People can come out. They can enter into six different categories and just jump for a good cause and you can still participate if you don’t have a dog,” Olean said.

Brandon is currently working as a tutor with the Harrisburg School District. Starting June13th, he’ll start training with his service dog.

The dock-diving event is happening on June 1st at 2:30 p.m. at SDK West and registration starts at 2 p.m. T-shirts are also for sale. To reserve a spot, call 605-777-3093.

A link to Brandon’s GoFundMe can be found here.

Written by: Badlands Classic Rock

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