Holiday fair to aid local teen’s quest for service dog

People can get their holiday shopping done, all while helping one Monroe teenager get closer to getting a life-saving diabetic alert dog.

Kimberly’s Diabetic Alert Dog Campaign holiday vendor fair — with all proceeds going directly to the non-profit organization Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers (SDWR) — will be held Saturday, Dec. 9, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the United Methodist Church of Monroe, 515 Cutlers Farm Road.

The benefit, which will feature some 20 vendors from Monroe and surrounding towns as well as a bake sale and several raffles, is to help the Collis family raise money in its quest to adopt a service dog specifically trained to aid their 16-year-old daughter, Kimberly, who has type 1 diabetes.

Shortly after her second birthday, Kimberly, now a Masuk High School junior, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Since that time, she and her family have worked diligently to try to monitor and treat her illness. Through a daily regime of checking blood glucose levels, administering insulin injections, and wearing an insulin pump, most recently a continuous glucose monitor, Kimberly must constantly keep an eye on any changes in blood sugar levels.

Since type 1 diabetes can affect nearly every organ in the body and have life-threatening complications, time is of the essence in keeping blood glucose levels in check. If Kimberly’s blood sugar level gets too low, it could trigger symptoms like shakiness, blurred vision, mental confusion, or even seizures, while a high sugar reading could be equally disastrous, resulting in organ failure or coma. Despite constant monitoring, diabetics can still be unaware of impending changes in their blood sugar levels.

Recently, however, the Collis family learned how specially trained dogs may be able to provide life-saving support by detecting fluctuating glucose levels a full 30 to 45 minutes before diabetics even feel the effects themselves.

The Collis family has begun a campaign to raise funds for a service dog through Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, which helps families and individuals with “invisible disabilities,” like Kimberly, find resources and raise funds to obtain service dogs. Through its dog training and placement service program, SDWR works to match just the right dog to its new owner and potentially provide life-saving support.

Adding a service dog to the family will help Kimberly manage her diabetes and improve the quality of her life, allowing her more independence, peace of mind, and the ability to more freely participate in the activities she loves, like theater, dance and music.

At this point, the Collis family has raised 38% of the $25,000 needed for the diabetic alert dog.

To find out more about Kimberly’s campaign or to make a donation, visit and type in “Kimberly’s Diabetic Alert Dog Campaign” or make checks payable to Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers (SDWR) and send to “For Kimberly Collis,” P.O. Box 647, Madison VA 22727.

To learn more about SDWR, go to