Molly's Kids: Community trying to help Valle Crucis boy get special medical dog

Molly's Kids: Community trying to help Valle Crucis boy get special medical dog

WATAUGA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - This happy boy was born at 34 weeks after an emergency C-section. Luke Spond wasn't breathing for six minutes. He spent 63 days in NICU, had three surgeries and has since been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

But this is not a sad story about a child with uphill medical battles. It's about a child in Valle Crucis who the community is rallying around to support. Specifically, the Chetola Resort in Watauga County.

But first, about Luke.

"He's our sweet, fun, loving 3-year-old," said mom Saskia and dad Mark (they wrote the email to me about Luke together). "He loves being in the company of others. He loves family and familiar friends. He loves reading board books, hiking in a stroller, swinging at the local park and playing musical instruments. The smile on his face after an accomplishment is priceless."

Luke's cerebral palsy affects Luke's motor skills and speaking ability. He needs helps sitting, standing and walking. "He loves to be independent, but struggles with mobility," they said.

His parents thought long and hard, did research and like many I hear from who reach out about their children… say they feel a service dog would be a huge solution in helping Luke live life.

"Our hope is that a highly, specially-trained dog could assist Luke when he's in a wheelchair or walker," they said. "The mobility assistance dog could help him open doors, pick up objects and help with balance. Most importantly, it'd help our family feel secure with a caring service dog at school." They'd love for Luke to have a dog to take with him when he eventually starts kindergarten. (I find something particularly sweet and well-thought out about that wish.)

Luke's parents have begun the process in trying to get Luke a dog through 4 Paws For Ability, a non-profit based in Ohio. Other
#MollysKids I've written about in the past have gone through this same process with this same organization. It's never cheap. Luke's dog will cost $17,000.

That's where Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock comes into play. They've heard about Luke and are hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, April 22 . Their annual fundraiser -- Chetola Resort's Corkscrew 5K (part of the SAVOR wine-festival in Blowing Rock) -- always benefits a local charity.
This year the net proceeds will go to Luke.

"We want to help him," spokesperson Allison West said with the resort. "We're excited to try and help make his life a little better."

For more on how to get involved >>

Or, if you can't make it, feel free to share the link. The whole point of writing about our many amazing #MollysKids is to lift them up and have people read about their real life accomplishments and struggles.

Welcome to #MollysKids, Luke. I have a good feeling this will all work out - we can't wait to hear what you name your dog. (Let me know if you want suggestions, I feel confident lots of us here could brainstorm and dream up plenty!!)


**Editor's note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there, which is why it's written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story and updates on all #MollysKids here.**