Milford singer to give benefit for sister
MILFORD >> Meredith Bump, 19, will give Dec. 3 concert to raise funds for a service dog for her sister, Emily.
Emily, now 24, has postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Service dogs can cost from a few thousand dollars up to $25,000, depending on the specialty and the trainer. The cost for Emily’s chosen dog, Daisy, will be in the middle of that range.
When Emily Bump was 14, she was an active teenager, dancing four hours a week, taking part in various activities and excelling in school.
In January 2007, she developed dizziness and chronic headaches. She went to the pediatrician, only to be told it was likely a virus that would soon work its way out of her system.
The symptoms got worse. She had trouble finding the energy to get out of bed and get through her day. She fell behind at school due to repeated absences.
After two years of visits to specialists from Boston to New York to Philadelphia and many misdiagnoses, she finally received an answer: postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.
WHAT IS POTS?
POTS is in a group of disorders that have orthostatic intolerance as their primary symptom. OI describes a condition in which an excessively reduced volume of blood returns to the heart after an individual stands up from a lying down position.
The primary symptom of OI is lightheadedness or fainting, which in POTS is accompanied by a rapid increase in heartbeat of more than 30 beats per minute, or a heart rate that exceeds 120 beats per minute, within 10 minutes of rising. The faintness or lightheadedness of POTS are relieved by lying down again.
Anyone at any age can develop POTS, but the majority of individuals affected (75-80 percent) are women ages 15-50 years.
The concert at 6 p.m. Saturday will be held at the First Congregational Church, 2301 Main St., in Stratford.
It will include a mix of popular songs and Christmas carols, with performances by Kevin Kiley of Stratford and Allison Fay on piano, also from Stratford.
“I try to do what I can, but most days it’s very difficult to do many of the things a lot of people take for granted,” said Emily Bump.
“If I go to the mall or anywhere that requires a lot of walking, I have to use a wheelchair. Having an invisible illness also presents its challenges as people can be skeptical and even cruel if it’s something they can’t see or never heard of the condition,” she said.
Her reason for getting a service dog is to get help with mobility and anxiety. She researched how to get the dog, found a trainer in Massachusetts and traveled to check out a few of the dogs. One dog in particular, Daisy, seemed to claim her right away.
The training can take up to two years. She sees Daisy about once a month so they can train together. Her goal it to raise enough money so she can acquire Daisy toward the end of 2017.
SPECIAL ED GOAL
Meredith Bump, 19, graduated from Foran High School in 2015 and sang in multiple musicals while in the Foran Drama Club.
She has performed at the Downtown Cabaret Children’s Theatre, has sung the national anthem at local area sporting events, including Bridgeport Bluefish games, and has frequently performed solo at the Stratford church.
Many of her performances can be heard on YouTube, where her channel has accumulated more 28,000 views. She is studying at Gateway Community College to be a special education teacher.
The concert is free, but a freewill offering will be taken. To donate, go to www.YouCaring.com and search for Dollars for Daisy Service Dog. Monitor the sisters’ progress at Dollars for Daisy on FaceBook.