Powell family asking for help to get a service dog

Powell family asking for help to get a service dog

Posted:
Luke Mackiewicz has Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic disorder often mistaken for autism. Luke Mackiewicz has Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic disorder often mistaken for autism.
"Luke is a wonderful little boy. He is so loving. He has got the best heart ever. He truly shows me what the meaning of innocence means. He's just stuck in his body," said Jodi Mackiewicz. "Luke is a wonderful little boy. He is so loving. He has got the best heart ever. He truly shows me what the meaning of innocence means. He's just stuck in his body," said Jodi Mackiewicz.

By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

POWELL (WATE) - A Powell family is desperately trying to raise money to get a service dog for their 6-year-old son. Luke Mackiewicz has Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic disorder often mistaken for autism.

Officials with the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities say there are programs out there to help pay for service dogs, but families must meet certain criteria, like income requirements.

The Powell family says they've checked into these programs, but to get the dog Luke needs,  one of their last options will cost them about $13,000. The dog would be specifically trained in search and rescue, which they say is vital to keep Luke safe.

"I'm really panicked that we're going to wake up one morning and he's going to be gone," said Jodi Mackiewicz, Luke's mom.

She says the bigger her son Luke gets, the more she worries about his safety.

"The older he gets, the more that he's breaking through all of our safety things we have in the house. We have a baby gate in his door; he can climb over that now. We've put alarms on the door; he's figured out how to get out of those," she said.

Because of Fragile X Syndrome, Luke has high anxiety and doesn't understand the meaning of danger.

"So it's getting to where we're confined more and more to our house. He's not able to get out, and we're not able to get out as a family," Mackiewicz said.

She says a service dog would help comfort and protect Luke.

"We've tried medicine. We've tried every other avenue there is. This is the thing I really think we have hope in that may keep him safe and help him have a better quality of life," she said.

The non-profit group "4 Paws For Ability" will train a dog in search and rescue, specifically for Luke's needs. To get that dog, the family needs to raise about $13,000.

Mackiewicz is trying to raise the money this month so Luke can have his dog by October 2014.

"Luke is a wonderful little boy. He is so loving. He has got the best heart ever. He truly shows me what the meaning of innocence means. He's just stuck in his body," said Mackiewicz.

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