Two weeks before her fifth birthday, Rylyn Bielinski found out she has Type 1 diabetes. After a story about the now 6-year-old's fundraiser for a "diabetic alert dog" ran in The Charleston Gazette on Aug. 15, Bielinski's mother, Jamie Bielinski, said the responses from the community were "amazing."
"Thoughts, prayers and funds all came pouring in. We wouldn't have Jackson if it weren't for West Virginians," Jamie Bielinski said Wednesday. People from Virginia, New York and all across West Virginia donated between $1 and $1,000, she said.
The family welcomed their furry companion -- Jackson, a golden Labradoodle trained to recognize a change in Rylyn's scent when her blood sugar is too low or high -- on Nov. 20. Jackson, was trained at Tidewater K9 Cares, a nonprofit group in Virginia that has trained companion and service dogs for more than 30 years.