Jenny Wiggins fears waking her son up every morning.
“I never know what response I’m going to get,” she said.
Max, a Pleasanton Junior High student, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in December 2014. T1D is an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas stops making insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. This is difficult and everyday is different. Amounts can fluctuate depending on food intake, physical activity, stress, illness and other factors.
However, that doesn’t stop Max from living his life like any normal teenager. He plays select baseball year round, is a 2nd degree black belt and fishes in tournaments with his dad.
With Max getting older, his mom fears the worst, stating that even when he does everything right, there are still dangerous highs and lows with his blood sugar, especially during the night.
“I’m constantly checking his levels and to see if he’s still breathing. I fear going to wake him up and him being gone,” said Jenny, referring to what is called the Dead in Bed Syndrome. This is when a person with T1D goes to bed with normal blood sugar levels and doesn’t wake up in the morning due to a sudden, drastic change in their levels that goes undetected.
Jenny made a post on Facebook in November during National Diabetes Awareness Month in regards to a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD) that can save the life a T1D warrior. Within minutes, family, friends and members of the community jumped at the chance to help Max.
“People asked me about it and I explained how a DAD can help families of T1D persons, especially at night, and someone said “You should not have to worry like that” so we started a GoFundMe account,” said Jenny.
The outpour of support has been overwhelming and extremely appreciative for Max and his family knowing that so many people care. As of today, the GoFundMe Account titled “A Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD) for Madmax” has raised just over $5,000, a quarter of the family’s $20,000 goal. A DAD costs anywhere from $20,000-$40,000.
David Dove of Mac Haik Southway Ford in San Antonio has stepped up to help the cause, stating that on behalf of the dealership, he will match all donations dollar for dollar up to $5,500 to help the Wiggins Family reach their $20k goal. The donation is being called #maxformax and is including all money raised from the tournament plus any cash donations. Whatever is donated will count as double.
“The benefit for Max aligns perfectly with what our company has set out to do over the past few years which is to give back to the community and assist if at all possible,” said Dove, who’s son plays on the same Pleasanton Little League team as Max. “Max is a great kid and when we became aware of his medical needs, we knew immediately we wanted to be part of it. Max and his family have our full support in this effort and we plan on seeing it through until he’s able to bring his dog home.”
Mac Haik Southway Ford is known for showing huge support in the Atascosa County area having been a huge buyer at the Atascosa County Livestock Show this January. “We would like to thank the community for their support over the years, which allows us to be able to participate in these sort of things.”
Jenny was ecstatic when she heard about the donations and cannot thank them and the community for their constant support.
“It’s a good feeling to know they have my back and want to help me,” said Max. “It makes me very happy. Thank you everyone.”
“These amazing animals are life saving to a T1D. With extensive training, DADs are trained to detect a high or low blood sugar even before it can be read on a glucose meter. They are taught to ring a bell or wake the diabetic or wake the parent when the child is in danger. Night time is particularly scary, and the worry never ends,” Jenny states on the page.
Friends and family of Max along with the City of Pleasanton have joined together to put on a softball tournament called “Mad Max’s Softball Tournament” scheduled for Saturday, May 11 at the Pleasanton Sports Complex starting at 9 a.m. All funds raised from team registrations, concession stands and a silent auction will go towards Max’s very own DAD.
“I had a conversation with my husband who participates in the city co-ed softball leagues and said we should do something like that for Max,” said Claudia Reyes, one of the Mad for Max supporters and fundraising organizers. Max’s family is all about baseball and softball, so the tournament was a perfect idea.
Registration deadline for teams is Wednesday, May 8 and the fee is $125 per team. Claudia says that they already have 10-12 teams interested in participating in the co-ed tournament.
“It’s been great to see how many people are willing to support Max, especially the help of Cindy Simmons, Pandy Salinas and Kristy Davis. They have each been very hands on and have shown tremendous support for Max,” said Claudia.
For more information on the tournament or to register your team, please contact Jeremy at 210- 995-3911.