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