Niagara Gazette — When Nicole Schroeder walked up to the doors of the Hyde Park Ice Pavilion, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“I couldn’t believe what I saw,” she said. “The line (of people waiting to get into the pavilion) was out the door. I was speechless.”
The crowd had come out to watch Falls police and firefighters face off in their annual charity hockey game. The proceeds of the game were going to benefit Schroeder’s son, Jack.
“I couldn’t believe everything (the police, firefighters and community) were doing for us,” Schroeder said. “To see everyone there, coming together (to help), I don’t know what to say.”
Jack Schroeder, just 9 years old, has faced more than his fair share of challenges in life. He was diagnosed with severe autism when he was just 18 months old and then was just recently diagnosed with Type 1 juvenile diabetes.
The dual disabilities can cause life-threatening dangers for him.
Because Jack is nonverbal, he can’t let his parents know how he feels. That makes it hard for them to manage his fluctuating blood sugar levels.
It leaves Jack constantly at risk of either dangerously high or low blood sugar levels.
One solution to make Jack safer was to get him a diabetic alert dog. The pup is specially trained to smell blood sugar fluctuations and to alert whenever there’s a problem.
Jack’s parents took the leap of faith to find a puppy, that their son named Lucy, and send her off for diabetic alert training. Then they had to figure out how’d they pay for the $18,000 cost of that training.
Months of fundraising had brought them to within $4,100 of their goal. And that’s when the firefighters and cops stepped in.
They designated “A Dog for Jack” as their charity of choice for the 2014 Police vs Fire Hockey Game and set out to make sure the Schroeders would make their fund raising goal.