Kathy Caldwell is very proud of her grandson, 3-year-old Keane Caldwell. Keane and his parents, Josh Caldwell and Erika Troutt, live in Metropolis. Keane was born with a rare skin disease called Mastocytosis which was diagnosed when he was just three months old. Since his first birthday, Keane has had four serious occurrences of anaphylaxis, and on multiple other occasions he has had other life threatening episodes brought on by the condition.
The family is hosting Canine for Keane, a 5k run/walk in Metropolis, on April 27. The event is to raise funds for Keane’s Medical Alert Dog which has been approved through Supporting Independence Through Teamwork (SIT) Service Dogs in Ava, Illinois. The dog will alert Keane, and anyone around him, when he’s experiencing medical issues brought on by his condition. Medical Alert dogs can detect change through scent and often detect it before humans are even aware that anything is wrong.
Being alerted before Keane’s oxygen levels drop is crucial. Anaphylaxis can happen in an instant and if proper drugs are not received in a timely manner, Keane could die. Medical alert dogs are trained to make humans aware that something is wrong, retrieve drugs and can even wake Keane’s parent during the night.
The normal cost of a service dog like this is $30,000. Keane was approved for a scholarship, which has reduced the cost of the dog to $12,900. Once the dog graduates from its training, another $2,000 will be needed to cover training supplies, a service vest, and lodging during the time Keane will train with his new dog.
Keane's alert dog will also be able to go to school with him, go outside with him while he plays, and be with him during any surgical procedures that he has.
What is Mastocytosis?
Mastocytosis has been defined as an abnormal accumulation of mast cells in one or more organ systems. Mast cells are immune system cells that live in the bone marrow and in body tissues, internal and external. Everyone has mast cells in their body - they play many complex and critical roles in keeping us healthy including protecting us from infection.
However, mast cells are also involved in allergic reactions - from the tiny swelling that appears after a mosquito bite, to a life threatening, full-blown anaphylaxis. There is a difference between someone who is healthy, with mast cells that are functioning normally, and someone with a mast cell disorder, whose mast cells may be activating inappropriately in response to triggers. The excess release of mediators can cause clinical features such as itching, flushing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypotension and anaphylaxis, which can be fatal.