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Girl with rare genetic condition gets gift of service dog thanks to the kindness of strangers

Jerrica holding Sydney.jpg
Posted at 7:04 PM, Jun 09, 2021

MADEIRA, Ohio — A girl and her dog – there’s so much more behind that phrase than meets the eye. It’s a new chapter in the story lots of people know as Jerrica’s Journey.

“it’s awe-inspiring, really,” Jerrica’s mother, Barbara McClaren, said. “We were so astonished.”

She shares pictures of how her 13-year-old daughter, Jerrica, lives on Facebook with a ventilator and a trach. She was born with a condition called Congenital Myasthenic Syndrome – a genetic disease that makes it difficult for her to move her muscles.

Jerrica's Birthday.jpg

But to keep up with Jerrica, McClaren said she still has to follow the trail left by her daughter’s wheelchair.

Hospital stays taught the family that a service dog could help with everyday life.

“There are lots of charities that help people get service dogs, and they’re wonderful, but the wait lists are some two years – some even longer than that,” McClaren said.

Jerrica Stone.jpg

She said because of the way the condition manifests, they’re all about living for right now. No one can give them any time, but McClaren made it her mission to get Jerrica the dog so she can live every single moment to the fullest. She turned to GoFundMe to raise the money.

“It was pretty incredible the way it snowballed so quickly,” McClaren said.


People shared Jerrica’s story over and over again – and they gave. The Tri-State’s generosity totaled more than $15,000, which can be used to help purchase and train a little 9-week-old golden retriever named Sydney into the service dog Jerrica was missing.

“Thank you for the people who helped,” McClaren said.

Jerrica signed her appreciation.

McClaren said Sydney will eventually be able to help her daughter open doors and pick up the phone, among other things.

Jerrica with Sydney.jpg