Hello everyone, I am so glad that a generous heart like yours found its way to my friend’s Eliza Zielinska’s gofundme fundraiser among the plethora of others.
My name is Justyna Zmurko, let me start off by Thanking you for your time. A big thanks for the eye and heart strain it will take to read and consider donating to Eliza’s cause. She and I share 18 years of friendship history. How in the world can you shrink down 18 years worth of conversations, help, laughter, time, day excursions, trips, mutual interest, and worried, tears into a single page? Especially, when furry wet- nosed creatures enriched your friendship and a disability like Cerebral Palsy hindered it. I am undertaking this daunting task to help my precious friend. Life has not treated her lightly. At this time with the help of many open hearts, I am hopeful Eliza will catch a break from life.
Why should you be a part of said break? Here is just so of the circumstance cards life has dealt Eliza: Cerebral Palsy and our shared Polish-Catholic background United us in friendship. Can you think back to your school years? Do you remember your struggles to learn while socially fitting in? Now, imagine that situation being more complex by your own balance and the danger of falling. So much so that you had to give up walking on your own two feet in favour of a power scooter. Eliza faced that, and completed high school in good standing. A bright-eyed prepared first year university student was the victim of a hit and run accident on their way to the library; their education was halted for a full year. Eliza was that student, and she went on to successfully graduate with a bachelor’s degree in social work She did not do it alone she had a wet-nosed companion by her side on campus, off campus, in public or in private. Leo the standard Poodle was always at the ready to jump in and lend a paw. Dropped items, opening doors, removing socks, turning off lights all activities of daily living where Eliza would work up a sweat; Leo’s wagging tail had no problem to perform these tasks. With a large Poodle helping her balance falls were less of a worry. If an occasional fall took place, Leo was trained to brace and manoeuvre his body to help her off the ground. Eliza’s family could breathe easier knowing that Leo would summit a human assistant if necessary. Despite a constant headache a leftover reminder of surviving the accident, Eliza’s condition was relatively stable. But life had other plans for Eliza and Leo, blurring vision and a sensitivity to light were the first signs of Keratoconus a progressive eye condition. Currently, my friend has almost no remaining night vision, and a prognosis of no vision someday. Put yourself in Eliza’s place how scared would you be when crossing the street by yourself? So, what do resilience human animal partnerships do with that new diagnosis? They learn new guide dog skills like locating sidewalk curves, avoiding obstacles, finding buildings and locations. Why do this, to stay safe and pursue the best quality of life. Did destiny think Eliza and Leo have enough? No she did not. After 13 years of embracing and supporting each other,Eliza and Leo both experienced health difficulties. Resulting in an additional diagnosis of Fibromyalgia for Eliza. Her canine partner unfortunately had to be put down.
His euthanasia was a huge below. Eliza’s world caved in on her. She now had to face chronic exhaustion, muscle pain, vision problems, balance issues, and physical disability independently. Afraid of something happening while she is alone in public. My friend has lost much of her independence. She has been relying on family way more than she’d like to. It is not possible for Eliza to acquire a service dog through a school. For schools do not cross train service dogs. Eliza would be forced to choose whether her dog learned the wheelchair tasks or guiding tasks. A hard selection that able-bodied people would never have to make. It is important to mention that most service dog programs do not train balance due to liability issues.
Eliza has found a private qualify trainer that is willing to train her a multipurpose service dog. Training could start as early as two months from now. This is where people of generous heart can make a difference. Eliza’s independence and quality of life will come at a cost of $15,000. Please donate improve and bring joy into Eliza’s otherwise grim reality.
My sincere thanks, Justyna Zmurko