Meet ECAD Client Elizabeth Cavaliere
My name is Elizabeth Cavaliere and I am a junior in high school. On the outside I look like an ordinary 16-year-old girl who is leading a happy life. While I am living an extremely happy life filled with friends, family and laughter, I have many trials and tribulations standing in the way of my independence.
After a long search and many undiagnosed symptoms, at the age of 15 we learned that I have a condition called Autoimmune Encephalitis. I soon began treatment but had already experienced memory loss and cognitive deficits. Because of it I have developed two forms of neuropathy, multiple movement disorders, and a balance disorder. It also worsened my pre-existing conditions, visual disorders and an autoimmune condition in which my body does not regulate my heart rate or blood pressure when changing positions. This causes me to pass out frequently. I am also experiencing lots of dislocations and subluxations of my joints, so a connective tissue disorder diagnosis is on the horizon.
These conditions test me every day in many ways. I have difficulty opening drawers due to shoulder dislocations, coordinating movements such as walking and holding items, feeling balanced and centered in space, stepping up on curbs and judging the distance of a moving car. I have lack of sensation in my legs, and I often feel faint and experience a lot of pain. As of now my medical challenges can be quite limiting. I often am unable to participate in as many activities as I want to with my family and friends.
The journey to health has and probably always will be a fight for me. However, after visiting ECAD and interacting with some of the Service Dogs-in-training, my family and I are confident that a service dog will help me gain more independence. The dog will perform everyday tasks such as opening drawers, helping me over uneven ground, retrieving dropped items, reminding me to take medications, performing Deep Pressure Therapy to help with pain, and most importantly, aiding me with mobility.
While I may never be cured and the future is uncertain, I am confident that my level of independence will be greatly improved by having an ECAD Service Dog by my side.
Thank you for your generous gifts to ECAD in honor of Elizabeth Cavaliere.
Donations are 100% tax-deductible as allowable by law. If your employer has a Matching Gift program, please complete the form and mail it to ECAD, P.O. Box 831, Torrington, CT 06790.