Evan Moss, 7, has epilepsy-and a Pokemon-themed bedroom he never gets to sleep in. Because his seizures come around 3 a.m. several times a month, “he’s in our room every night,” says Evan’s mom, Lisa Moss, 42. “Our biggest fear is if we miss a seizure or can’t make one stop when every minute counts.” No one-not Evan, not his parents, not his doctor-can predict when a seizure is imminent.
Correction: Make that no human. In fact, certain dogs with exceptional sense of smell can detect chemical changes that occur in a person before the onset of a seizure and can be trained to warn the patient and people around them to take protective steps, such as getting a child like Evan out of the pool or a bathtub and having rescue medicine at the ready. The problem: A seizure-sniffing dog costs $13,000-which was out of reach for the family of four (daughter Aria is 9) in Alexandria, Va.
Then, Evan had an idea: He could sell a picture book about the lifesaving pup of his dreams-like, “If I go to outer space, the seizure dog will too… . I just needed a little help spelling,” he says. Within a month of its July 6 publication, My Seizure Dog, which Evan sold at signings at a local coffee shop and on Amazon for $10, brought in more than $41,000-enough to fund Evan’s dog and to help at least three more families struggling to finish their own fund-raising. “What these dogs do is priceless,” says Karen Shirk of 4 Paws for Ability, an Ohio nonprofit that trains children’s service dogs.
Evan is now getting ready to welcome a seizure-sniffing Labradoodle when it graduates next spring. (A first meeting in August went well: “The dogs kissed me on my face a whole lot,” he says.) By then, Evan’s grandmother hopes to finish stitching a Pokemon quilt for him and the dog-in their own room. Says dad Rob, 40: “Evan’s getting a new best friend, but also a shot at life as a regular kid.”