EASTLAKE, Ohio - Six year old Zowie Cunningham has Tuberous Sclerosis, a genetic disorder that causes benign tumors to grow in the brain an on other vital organs.
"She has four tumors in her brain, she has one in her eye, she had one in her heart when she was a baby, but that went away," said Zowie's mom Nicole Cunningham.
The disorder is the cause of Zowie's developmental delay. It also results in seizures that according to her mother have increased in number and duration. The longest lasted 11 hours.
That was when Nicole Cunningham got an idea.
"I decided it was time to really look into the dogs, find out what they were, how to get them, and what type of requirements you had to have," said Cunningham.
These dogs are not the typical pet next door. 4 Paws 4 Ability in Xenia, Ohio trains service dogs to smell the chemical changes that happen in a body right before a seizure is about to occur.
"To me it's like having a second mom in the house. It's somebody who could be there to look out for her when she's sleeping, if I'm not sitting on top of her in the room the dog can be there laying in the quiet and still smell the chemical changes in order to notify us of a seizure, because many of her seizures are at night," said Cunningham.
The dogs are expensive, costing over $22,000. In order help raise the money to purchase a dog for Zowie, the Cunninghams are holding a dinner and auction Saturday night.
It's one of many ways they hope to give Zowie a chance at a better quality of life.
SATURDAY NIGHT FUNDRAISER FOR ZOWIE:
All-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner and dance party
Saturday, April 3: Dinner 5-8 p.m., dancing at 8:30 p.m.
The Players Club at Lost Nation Sports Park, 38630 Jet Center Place, Willoughby
Cost: $10 for adults on sale in advance, $12 for adults at door, $5 for children 3-10 years old.
The following is a list of prizes that will be auctioned off at the raffle:
Willoughby Brewing Company, Willoughby: $25 gift card
The Wright Place, Willoughby Hills: $25 gift card
Burgers & Beer, Willoughby: $25 gift card bogo drink coupon
Guys Pizza, Eastlake: 5 free large pizza's at $11.49/ea.
Panini's, Willoughby: $30 gift card
Wickliffe Lanes, Wickliffe: 10 free games of bowling
Dino's III, Willowick: $20 gift card
East Side Blvd. (@ Radisson), Eastlake: $100 gift card (2 @ $50 each)
Red Lobster, Mentor: $40 gift certificates
Steak N Shake, Willoughby: 5 free Steakburgers & shakes
Eat N Park, Willoughby: $10 gift card & 2 dozen cookies
Texas Roadhouse, Willoughby: $35 gift card
Burger Nuts, Willoughby: 10 free little burgers
Cleveland Indians: Cleveland Indian Johnny Peralta autographed ball
Oliver Twist, Willoughby: $35 gift card
Denny's, Willoughby: Two free dinners with drinks
Petie's Family Restaurant, Willowick: $10 gift card
Chuck-E-Cheese, Mentor: 8 coupons- free pizza, 4 drinks, 25 tokens
Stadium Bar & Grill, Mentor: $20 gift certificate
Buffalo Wild Wings, Mentor: $30 gift certificate (3 $10 each)
Winking Lizard, Mentor: Two 24 bucket of wings, 6 pk wings, 2 free drinks
Lake County Captains, Eastlake: 4 tickets to any game
Freeway Lanes, Mentor: Pizza Pins & Pop (2)
Improv, Cleveland: 6 - (admit 2) vip admission tickets to any show
Freshlys,Willoughby: $10 gift card
Barnes & Noble, Mentor: Book bag, journal, photo frame, bookmark, kids book
House of Blues, Cleveland: Free appetizer, dinner and dessert for 2
Mary Beth Meuhle, Cleveland: $50 gift card for Cheesecake Factory
The Captains Club, Eastlake: $20 gift card
Biagios, Eastlake: 4 coupons for a free dozen donuts
Baker Candies Inc., Cleveland: Free chocolate coupon and easter basket valued at $100.00
Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland: 2 free tickets
Anthonys, Eastlake: Two $15 dollar gift certificates
Harry Buffalo, Painesville: $25 gift card
Lake Erie Monsters, Cleveland: 2 club seats
Chipotle, Willoughby: 3 free burritos
BD's Mongolian BBQ, Cleveland: $50 gift certificates ($10/each)
Frank & Tonys, Willoughby: Two $15 dollar gift certificates
Wing Warehouse, Eastlake: 5 free dinners = $6 and under
TGI Fridays, Mentor: Two $15 gift certificates & 2 free appetizers & desserts
Hardrock Café, Cleveland: $50 gift cards ($10/each)
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland: 8 tickets, 7 keychains, 4 bracelets (1 for zo), lunch bag, 4 carry bags, cheese board.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Cleveland Cavalier Anthony Parker autographed stress ball, note pad, key chain, pen, bracelet, t-shirt, carry bag.
Cedar Point, Sandusky: 4 tickets
Bob Evans, Willoughby: $25 gift card
Smokey Bones, Mentor: $25 gift card
Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Willoughby: Two free dance lessons (30 mins each - private)
Courtney Krall Baked Goods Basket with Mary Kay
Luxury Limousine of Cleveland Eastlake: 4 hr. limo service - includes bottled water & pop
Center for dental health Eastlake: Free tooth whitening
Bally Total Fitness, Willoughby: 3 months free
Olive Garden, Mentor: $10 girft certificate
Lowes Home Inprovement, Willoughby: $25 gift card
Troy Dooley, Eastlake: Hand painted