Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Raising Money for Madison's Service Dog

We have decided to raise money for a non profit agency that trains service dogs - we have to raise $13,000. Here is our press release.


Contact: Natalee or Michael Landers
October 27, 2010 (

937) 671-0416;


Madison Landers is a preschooler who lives in Montgomery County, Ohio, and attends St. Rita’s School for the Deaf in Cincinnati, Ohio. She lives with her mom, dad, and two older siblings.

Madison had a difficult birth but developed normally during the first 10 months of her life. However, around 11 months of age, we realized she wasn’t hearing correctly. Tubes were placed in her ears, but unfortunately, her attempts at speech failed to return. At 14 months of age, we asked for an Early Intervention Team to assess her because we believed “something was not right” with her. That assessment stated she was within normal developmental ranges. Around this same time, Madison was trying to learn how to walk but her right foot did not work properly and moved perpendicular to her left foot. Again, we took her to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon who told us not to worry because she was within normal development. At 18 months of age, we asked for another Early Intervention evaluation and the team assessed Madison and determined she was NOW developmentally delayed in all areas. What a blow we took that day! Then two weeks later, Madison had her first febrile, or fever, seizure. It was one of the worst days of our lives. We did not know how to help her so we stood aside and hoped the doctors knew what they were doing. We were told she would never have another seizure so we were unfortunately unprepared for what would occur just two weeks later when she had another seizure. Now over the last 2 ½ years, she has had six seizures. Each of her seizures has been different. Some are short, and some have been extremely long and have lasted over 45 minutes. Unfortunately, we will never know the extent of the damage done to Madison’s neurological system.

Madison is currently on medication to help control the seizures. MRIs have enabled doctors and us to see the myelin on her brain is not fully formed. Myelin allows our brain to function normally. Doctors are unsure if the lack of myelin has caused her apraxia, sensory issues, low muscle tone, and developmental delays. Right now her therapists and teachers believe she is functioning around the level of a 2½ -year-old.

Madison is a sweet and loving four-year-old. She has a wonderful smile and sense of humor. Madison loves to ride horses at the Therapeutic Riding Institute, swing at the local parks, swim (assisted), and watch Barney and Friends. Madison’s issues are not evident until you see her trying to run, walk up the stairs, or speak. She also has trouble with everyday tasks, such as washing her hands or getting dressed. If you see our family out in public, you may see her frustration take the form of an uncontrollable meltdown that resembles a temper tantrum. This is an unusual occurrence for someone her age, but it is because she is unable to process the world as well as you and I can.

During Madison’s short four years of life, she has undergone five MRIs, CAT scans, copious amounts of blood work, sleep-deprived EEGs, an overnight EEG, and three ear tube surgeries. When we pull up to the Children’s Hospital, she screams, “NO, MOMMY!” or “doctor hurt,” which breaks our hearts. We know that a service dog would provide her comfort and assistance during her many medical trips and appointments to her geneticist, developmental pediatrician, neurologists, speech pathologist, occupational and physical therapists, ear nose and throat specialist, sleep doctor, and psychologist.

In addition, Madison has no appropriate fear of danger, such as traffic or strangers. A multipurpose assistance dog would accompany Madison everywhere and act as a safety guard. Attached to the dog by a special harness, Madison would be unable to run into traffic or get lost. If by chance she would ever get lost, the multipurpose assistance dog will be trained in search and rescue techniques and will come to her aid during times of need.
We truly believe that Madison has a special connection with animals and have faith that a service dog will enable Madison’s progression and help her live a fuller life. The service dog will provide her independence with walking up and down stairs. The dog will be trained to detect her seizures and help her to calm down or even prevent meltdowns. Lastly, we believe this dog will bring her comfort with who she is, allow her to sleep through the night, and help her to make friends.

4 Paws for Ability, Inc., is a nonprofit organization. This organization strives to provide service dogs to families and children that struggle with life’s daily challenges. They train a variety of assistance dogs including — but not limited to — seizure assistance, mobility assistance, hearing, and autism assistance dogs. 4 Paws for Ability, based out of Xenia, Ohio, has accepted Madison into their program, and they will be training a multipurpose assistance dog specifically for her needs. They have a fund-raising requirement where they form a working relationship with the family and have the family raise money for 4 Paws for Ability on behalf of Madison. The waiting list is only as long as it takes for the family to complete their fund-raising. Training service dogs is very expensive. It costs 4 Paws an average of $22,000 per dog to be placed with a family. At 4 Paws, they partner with the child's family, who becomes a volunteer fund-raiser and makes a commitment to raise a minimum of $13,000 for the agency to qualify for a dog. Dogs are trained to specifically address the needs of each child, and this is truly a great program for Madison to benefit from in her life.

You can HELP bring independence and safety to Madison’s life by making a tax deductible donation to:
4 Paws for Ability, Inc.
253 Dayton Avenue
Xenia, Ohio 45385
Please indicate on your check that the donation is in honor of Madison Landers, or you may donate online at: If you prefer making an online donation, please reference "In honor of Madison Landers" in the box asking for special instructions. For additional information, please contact Natalee Landers at (937)671-0416 or email at To contact 4 Paws for Ability, Inc., directly call (937)374-0385.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Festivities

What a long week Halloween was.....Started with Fall festivities at Madison's local horse stables. We showed up with our "boo" cupcakes and enjoyed riding on all the horses and taking a hay ride provided by Mr. Bill. Thanks Sandy!

On Wednesday night we attended the local Y's Harvest fest....Zachary and Maddie played all kinds of games and rode tiny ponies.....let the candy fest begin!

Then I prepared for Zachary's first kindergarten Halloween party. They played "toss the gourds," tried to guess what was in the witches' brew and made a skeleton and bat. Fun was had by all.

We shared beggars night with Nana and Papa. They came down from Toledo and went trick or treating with the kids. Maddie was a ghost and did an impressive "boo" and Zachary was ????. Ashley stayed home to hand out the candy. We didn't get a chance to crave pumpkins this year so we took the easy way out....turned out cute though!