Community fundraises $25,000 for ETX teen's diabetic alert dog - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Community raises $25,000 for teen's diabetic alert dog


A 14-year-old East Texas girl has been in serious need of medical assistance, totaling $25,000.

Kelbi Byrd was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of seven, and has been in need of a diabetic alert dog.

Kelbi says she found out “right after my seventh birthday, and I was scared because I didn’t really know what was going on.”

Just over a year ago, her family and community started hosting fundraisers to cover the cost of an alert dog.

“We did softball tournaments, a 5k, a silent auction with spaghetti dinner, t-shirts…,” said Kelbi’s mother, Kristi.

This week Kelbi got her long-awaited companion, Bianca, a 16-month-old yellow lab who has been trained by the non-profit Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers.

According to Bianca’s trainer Erin Gray, “Bianca was actually named after a fallen officer. We have a program where people can nominate fallen officers for their name to continue in service through one of our dogs.”

The service dog will use her sense of smell to alert Kelbi about her blood sugar getting too high or too low.

Kelbi says this has been a long journey, but the support from her community has “made me feel loved.”

For information on Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers please visit:

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