CITRUS HEIGHTS, Calif. - Seven-year-old Nicholas Keim is full of life. But since he was 18 months old, his parents have been fighting for his life.
Nicholas has Down syndrome and was diagnosed at 18 months old with Type 1 Diabetes. His parents Krista and Chris Keim have to check his blood sugar every two hours, even throughout the night.
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.
"It's been a struggle for all three of us - learning curve - the highs the lows," Chris Keim said.
"We have to count the carbs and measure out everything he eats," Krista Keim explained. "He can't eat really anything without a shot of insulin."
The disease cannot be reversed or fixed and, as of now, there is no cure. Type 1 Diabetes does not get better with age, and Nicholas cannot outgrow it.
Nicholas has a difficult time communicating. If his blood sugar level plummets and he doesn't get the insulin he needs, Nicholas could lose his life.
That's why the Keims are raising money for a diabetic alert dog through the the National Institute of Diabetic Alert Dogs.
"The diabetic alert dog could essentially save his life," Krista Keim said.
Through saliva swabs, an alert dog named Andy is already being trained for Nicholas. Andy will be able to sense when Nicholas' blood sugar is getting too high or too low 30 to 40 minutes before any he shows any symptoms, or his glucometer even registers the change.
A diabetic alert dog for Nicholas would mean a sense of peace for the Keims. Andy will give Nicholas the independence and ability to play sports, go to friends' houses, play in his own backyard without his parents sitting right there and help him not to lose his childhood to the disease.
With the community's support through several fundraisers, the Keims raised the necessary funds to get Andy.
Now, they want to pay it forward. If you are interested in donating to another family, the Keims have set up a GoFundMe.com account and have promised to help fund another family in need of a diabetic alert dog.