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Family raises money for service dog

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Albany/HV: Family raises money for service dog
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on-cancerous tumors can cause seizures. In this edition of Healthy Living, Katie Gibas takes a closer look at one particular case of tuberous sclerosis.

Arianna Failla was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis when she was three-months-old. Now she is three-years-old and has seizures on a regular basis.

"She has them every day. And they're all day long," said Jennifer Failla. "She also has drop seizures, so she has to wear a helmet because she will just drop, unless I'm there to catch her, she will fall right on her face."

Thanks to a new, safer procedure, there's hope for relief in Arianna's future.

Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital is the first center in the world performing MRI guided laser ablation. A small incision is made in the skull, and then doctors use a laser to destroy the tumor.

Every month, Arianna spends a couple days in the hospital to have the sugery. However, there are still many more months to go.

"The seizure part, we're still trying to get under control, but the development part, I couldn't have asked for anything more for her. It was the best decision we've ever made," said Jennifer. "She's able to now go up the stairs, come down the stairs. She's able to have more balance when she's walking. She's imitating a lot more. She's doing more pretend play. It's been amazing."

Arianna's family is also working to raise money for a service dog to help Arianna walk, and serve as an early warning for seizures.

"There's some chemical reaction they have in their body beforehand. So the dog will smell it, and they can smell it an amount of time before it happens, so I have time to get prepared. It would be a huge help and a lot off my shoulders, wondering if I walk away if she's going to fall down and have another seizure," said Jennifer.

The price for a service dog and required training is $22,000. Through a number of benefits, the family is hoping to save up enough to give Arianna a chance for a safer and more normal future.

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