APEX: Apex girl with a rare disorder has a guardian angel - WRBL

Apex girl with a rare disorder has a guardian angel

Posted: Updated:
DURHAM, N.C. -

Kaelyn Krawczyk, fondly known as "KK", is a 7-year-old Apex girl who has suffered from a rare disorder all her life.

At any moment, she's susceptible to mild to severe reactions.

At Duke Hospital, she had a cystoscopy. Doctors injected a chemical into her ureters, hoping to prevent future infections.

KK's rare condition is known as a mast cell activation disorder.

"She was diagnosed when she was two months old" said her mother, Michelle Krawczyk.

It makes KK vulnerable to anything from mild to violent episodes at any time of day. Her severe symptoms include a sudden drop in her blood pressure, abdominal pain and vomiting, as well as trouble breathing.

That's where a service dog named JJ comes in. She alerts KK's mom and dad anytime KK starts having a reaction.

Michelle Krawczyk said at first, she was looking for service dogs that were simply loyal companions for her daughter.

"We started to call all the organizations on Google and we got the same response. ‘We don't train a dog for that condition' or ‘we don't train a dog for a child that young,'" Michelle Krawczyk said.

She did get a call back from Deb Cunningham, program director of a nonprofit out of Chapel Hill called Eyes, Ears, Nose and Paws.

Cunningham asked the Krawczyk family to take swabs of KK's mouth anytime she had an episode.

This process is similar to the model that they would use to train diabetic-alert dogs. JJ started to differentiate the smell, alert the parents of an episode, and even grab a lifesaving kit at their home if necessary.

Krawczyk said at first, she was skeptical.

"A dog smell a reaction? That's crazy!"

Crazy, but true. JJ can smell the chemical changes in KK's body as it's happening, sometimes faster than any medical monitor can.

That's why for the surgery, doctors wanted JJ to be in the operating room. Towards the end of the surgery, JJ noticed KK was having a mild reaction, and notified the doctors.

Brad Taicher, assistant professor pediatric anesthesia at Duke University said, "It struck us that JJ is really just an additional monitor that provides information about what's going on with KK."

To his knowledge, it is the first time a dog was ever inside a Duke operating room, let alone assisting in the surgery.

For the Krawczyk family, getting JJ 18 months ago changed their life. They said she's the reason why both parents can sleep at night and why KK can have a more normal life.

To learn more about KK and JJ, visit their Facebook page.

Eileen Park

Eileen joined WNCN after years of working as a foreign correspondent. During her time off, she enjoys relaxing with her dogs, reading, and exploring the Triangle. More>>

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Woman impales herself on cemetery fence; says she was running from attacker

    Woman impales herself on cemetery fence; says she was running from attacker

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 2:53 PM EDT2014-07-23 18:53:18 GMT
    A woman claims she was running from an attacker and tried to jump a five foot fence when she became impaled. Firefighters had to use power saws and a grinding saw to cut her free, all while she was conscious. After 30 minutes she was transported to an area hospital for surgery to remove the spike sticking out of her thigh. It happened at Vine Cemetery in Hazleton. She said the nearest gate was locked. Witnesses backed...
    A woman claims she was running from an attacker and tried to jump a five foot fence when she became impaled. Firefighters had to use power saws and a grinding saw to cut her free, all while she was conscious. After 30 minutes she was transported to an area hospital for surgery to remove the spike sticking out of her thigh. It happened at Vine Cemetery in Hazleton. She said the nearest gate was locked. Witnesses backed...
  • 2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:00:14 GMT
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
  • Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Largest companies by revenue in each state

    Thursday, July 10 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-07-11 00:01:10 GMT
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
    Broadview Networks recently decided to find out the biggest -- by revenue -- company in each state in the US.The company used the Fortune 500 list to start with, but needed data by state, so it turned to Hoover's.With data from that company, they were able to search through each state's list of companies and then find the largest -- by revenue.Just flip through the list above and see who is the biggest in each state, what town they are based and their revenue.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.