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Family of Phoenix 6-year-old with epilepsy looking for seizure dog after COVID scare

A Valley 6-year-old with epilepsy is finally home after 22 days in the hospital. She contracted...
A Valley 6-year-old with epilepsy is finally home after 22 days in the hospital. She contracted COVID-19 and had to be put on a ventilator. Now her family is hoping for a specially trained seizure dog to help her recovery and be safer in her journey with this challenging disorder.(Sarah Shapiro)
Updated: Jan. 17, 2022 at 6:44 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A Valley 6-year-old with epilepsy is finally home after 22 days in the hospital. She contracted COVID-19 and had to be put on a ventilator. Now her family is hoping for a specially trained seizure dog to help her recovery and be safer in her journey with this challenging disorder.

Aria Shapiro has to take daily medication for her epilepsy and is closely monitored. After recently contracting COVID-19, her family wants to make sure they have more help with her recovery.

“It was the most traumatizing situation we have ever experienced,” Aria’s mother, Sarah Shapiro, said.

Aria was only three years old when she suffered a 90-minute seizure. Since then, she has faced an uphill battle with epilepsy. That battle got even harder to fight during the pandemic.

“COVID took a turn I’ve never seen her epilepsy go in,” Shapiro said.

On December 18, Aria contracted COVID, and she got vaccinated the day before, December 17. That night she had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital.

She was put in the pediatric ICU and spent two days on a ventilator. “She was intubated due to the seizures that would not stop due to COVID,” Shapiro said.

After 22 days in the hospital, Aria is finally home, but now her mom faces a new challenge.

“If she has a seizure where there is no movement, called focal seizure if there is no sound and movement, how do you know to give rescue medicine or to take rescue protocol?” Shapiro said.

Aria wears a pulse oximeter which alerts her mom if she stops breathing. She also has motion detection cameras in her room. But her family is seeking an extra layer of protection.

“For focal seizure, that’s when the idea of a service animal came into play,” Shapiro said.

A seizure dog can alert the family when a seizure is about to occur and be trained to put their head under a person’s head to open the airway. The only problem is that it’s a timely process and comes with a big price tag.

“We got the pricing anywhere from $20-$25,000″ Shapiro said. “We know it doesn’t cure anything, but it could potentially save her life.”

The family has raised nearly $20,000 on their GoFundMe page. If you’d like to donate, click here.