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This fundraiser ended on 01/05/13

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The friends of Nikita aka @DomDraven are uniting to raise money to help with the costs for a Service Dog. Please show your support!!!

Most of you know her as @DomDraven on Twitter, but some of you know her as Nikita. In the last year her life has gone from bad to worse and now she needs your help. She suffers from a multitude of medical issues, and her doctors have stated that she requires a service dog. The only problem is she has nothing but $500 a month to live on. The cost of a fully trained service dog is $40,000. $10,000 of which is expected to be paid by the client. Twitter is her only outlet since becoming ill, she has no family and lives an almost entirely solitary existence. Up until the diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor, life seemed like it may fall into place. That was not the case. In the last year and a half alone she has had to flee an abusive relationship which left her homeless and living in a shelter where anything of value she had was stolen. She lived there for nine months until she found permanent housing. Unfortunately at the time she found housing her health fell further into decline. The brain tumor she has is benign, but inoperable and is situated in her cerebellum. To operate would leave her paralyzed. There is no choice but to live with it and the symptoms it brings. She has severe vertigo which means her world constantly spins, the tumor causes her to suffer from Ataxia (the inability to control her gait and control muscle coordination) So she staggers and often falls. She has acquired Nystagmus which is uncontrollable moving of the eyes which causes her to fatigue after only a few blocks of walking and it has also taken away the simplest joys of watching a TV, reading a book and if you've seen her tweet, you know she makes a lot of mistakes. Twitter is her only life line out these days. She has lost 65 percent of the hearing in her left ear and 75 percent in her right ear and now has to wear hearing aids as she has been struck by vehicles because her brain no longer registers the direction of sound. She cannot identify sound coming from any direction. It simply sounds like it is coming from above. Her vision has declined to the point where eyeglasses can no longer correct her vision. It will only decline from here on out. The doctors are requesting that she get a service dog for the above reasons but also for the fact she suffers from Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Bi-polar disorder, PTSD and debilitating anxiety attacks. So great is her anxiety that she is only able to leave her home unassisted for 30 minutes out of every month. She is unable to leave her home unassisted and since the budget cuts to services have been so great, she is simply left to stay in her apartment. There is no help in getting to and from Doctor's appointments of which she must go almost weekly, and there is no way for her to attend school where she was to study to be a peer support worker for people with mental illness and the homeless in Vancouver's DTES, the poorest urban postal code in Canada. The brain tumor and psychiatric problems are compounded by the fact she suffered a brain injury in a drowning accident in 1995, this has wiped out her short term memory and some of her long term memory. Her illness also causes dissociative states where she loses all touch with reality and requires tactile stimulation to pull herself out of these states. That is kind of hard to do when you have no family or friends to support or check if you are okay. She has flooded her home on multiple occasions and now faces eviction because she forgot she was cooking and the building alarms were set off. The aid of a service dog would mitigate so many of these issues and give her back her freedom. List of tasks the dog will be trained for Apathy – tactile stimulation Feelings of isolation – tactile stimulation/ initiate activity outside the home Anxiety – Deep pressure stimulation/Guide her to a safe place away from over stimulation Suicidal ideation/ Self-mutilation – Grounding Memory loss – remind to take medication/Find keys/phone/hearing aid remote/tv remote/ Disorganization – remind to brush her teeth and shower and eat racing thoughts – tactile stimulation irritability – alert to manic episode increase in heart rate – alert to incipient panic/anxiety attack Fight or flight response – guide her to a safe place away from over stimulation pounding heart, shaking – tactile stimulation Nystagmus/Vertigo/Dizzyness and loss of balance – Brace or counterbalance Restlessness or distractibility – alert to rising anxiety Fear of leaving home – initiate activity outside the home social withdrawal – initiate activity outside the home feeling overwhelmed/ impending meltdown – guide her to a safe place Startle response – alert to presence of others/stand between her and others sensory overload – tactile or deep pressure stimulation balance – counter balance or brace me when using stairs inattention to her surroundings block her from stepping off of curbs balance – balance when stepping off of curbs or stepping off public transit Alert to water running/pot boiling over on stove falls – vocal alert that she has fallen ie: barking Hypersomnolence – wake her up at the same time every day. Tactile stimulation Migraine – alert to incipient migraine attack.

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