Advocacy, Community, Health

Boy’s best friend a life saver

Robbie Parkes needs a diabetic alert dog to help manage his Type-1 diabetes. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Four-year-old Robbie Parkes desperately wants a dog, not just any dog however, a dog that will potentially save his life.

After falling dangerously ill in May, the Linkwater boy was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes.

With no history of the condition in their family, mum Diane Parkes says they have been left reeling by the shock diagnosis.

Robbie has been accepted as a potential candidate for a diabetic alert dog from Australia- but the farming family need $20,000 to make the dream a reality.

For mum Diane, the new addition to the family would be much-needed peace of mind.

“The do can be with him 24/7, on the tractor, when he’s playing, and a big thing is that the dog can be with him at nighttime too.

“It would make such a big difference to our lives.”

Four-year-old Robbie Parkes desperately wants a dog, not just any dog however, a dog that will potentially save his life.
Four-year-old Robbie Parkes desperately wants a dog, not just any dog however, a dog that will potentially save his life. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Dad Gareth is a stock-truck driver and is away for long stretches of time, so Diane checks on Robbie’s glucose levels every two hours throughout the night.

After making an emergency trip to Blenheim when Robbie first got sick, the prospect of a pet who could warn her when her son was ill would be “life-changing”, she says.

“The dogs are trained to wake or get the attention of someone else if they sense something isn’t right.

“They sniff out if levels are too low or too high 10 minutes before it actually happens.

“If the dog was with Robbie all the time it would give me peace of mind,” she says.

Camped out on a stretcher bed in Robbie’s room, Diane has not had a full night of sleep since his diagnosis on Mothers’ Day when he was admitted to Wairau Hospital for three nights.

Looking after the family’s farm, calving and home-schooling Robbie’s two older siblings, means there is little spare time in the day.

An energetic boy who loves to play outside, Robbie needs constant monitoring.

From crying in fear each time he had to have a finger-prick test done, the brave youngster can now do them himself four times a day.

“He had blood test after blood test and needles and drips, but he’s been very brave and we’re really proud of him.

“His body was basically shutting down, he was almost unconscious and couldn’t stop vomiting.

“It would be wonderful to think that an assistance dog would help stop him having to be in hospital again,” Diane says.

The family are holding raffles to help fundraise and have also set up a donation page on Facebook.

“I haven’t liked to ask for the full amount so am trying to raise $5000. It would be an amazing start,” Diane says.

To donate visit www.facebook.com/donate/939821693029494/2391922750884457/

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