Donors step up to help Cumberland Foreside family get service dog

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 3

FALMOUTH — Specially trained service dogs, especially ones that can detect seizures in advance, are expensive.

So friends of the Rosenblum family of Cumberland Foreside have started a GoFundMe page to help raise the $20,000-$30,000 the family needs to get a dog for their son Jack.

Jack, now 21, was diagnosed with a severe form of autism when he was 2 years old. Then, five years ago, he also began to experience epileptic seizures. He now has a seizure once every three to four weeks, and has a grand mal seizure about once a year.

According to his father, Paul Rosenblum, a long-time teacher at Falmouth Elementary School, the grand mal seizures are the worst because that’s when Jack will sometimes stop breathing.

He said a service dog that could detect a seizure coming on “would be a game- changer for us.”

“The biggest concern with seizures are accidents that can (happen) when a person suddenly loses consciousness,” Rosenblum said. “As it is, we can’t responsibly let Jack go unsupervised for more than five minutes at a time during his seizure window, between 5 and 9 p.m. (every night).

“It’s a stressful situation for all, (and this) dog could allow us a peace of mind we haven’t known for years while helping ensure Jack’s physical safety,” he said.

Although the waiting lists for service dogs are daunting, Rosenblum said, “at this point we’ve been in touch with a couple of blue-ribbon breeders and trainers and are very optimistic about finding a great match (for Jack) within this calendar year.”

Rosenblum said Jack takes two medications to help control his seizures. Last fall he also had surgery to implant a medical device that is designed to reduce the frequency and severity of his seizures.

He called the creation of the GoFundMe page an act of “unbelievable generosity and compassion,” and said “it’s flat-out humbling. I feel very, very fortunate to live and teach in a place that rallies for others like the town of Falmouth does.”

Michelle Plazeski, the parent of a student of Rosenblum, launched the online fundraiser in mid-December with the help of Rosenblum family friend John Carter.

As of this week the page had raised more than $10,300 of its $25,000 goal.

Plazeski said she first heard about the Rosenblums’ need for a service dog from her daughter.

“When (she first) told me about this, it resonated with me (and) I felt compelled to do something,” she said. “I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.”

Plazeski said she wanted to help Rosenblum “because I see how much he gives to his students. He’s made huge impacts on many children and families over the years (and) he’s a man that comes to school with such positive, happy energy.”

Carter, who has known the Rosenblums for several years, said Paul is “such a beloved member of the Falmouth community … that I had a feeling once this GoFundMe page was launched it would take off.”

Having a service dog that can detect seizures would “would be a great safety net” for the whole family, Carter said.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 780-9097 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Paul Rosenblum, left, a Cumberland Foreside resident and long-time teacher at Falmouth Elementary School, said it’s “flat out humbling” the way the community has rallied to raise money for a service dog for his son, Jack.

3