Mechanicsville family raising money for service dog for 15-year-old son with autism

MECHANICSVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — A local family trying to raise money for their 15-year-old son with autism to get a service dog.

Kyle White is your typical teenager who loves animals and his remote control cars.

His mother Kathy Vega said her son has faced many challenges even as a young child.

“When he turned six years old there was an accident on my parents’ farm and that really set him back,” Vega said. “We almost lost him.”

At the age of 12, Kyle was diagnosed with Autism and a rare genetic condition called 47 XYY Syndrome. 

“That’s where he gets his height from. He’s 6’2” already. We go through a lot of clothes,” Vega said. “When he gets overwhelmed it’s difficult for him to verbalize his emotions and he’ll become angry and sometimes take off. It’s hard for people to understand what is truly going on.”

The family found hope through a local organization, Richmond Autism Integration Network where Kyle has been going through camp this summer and helping him through his challenges.

“I get really overwhelmed with loud noises and stuff,” Kyle said. “That camp this summer has been really loud, but it has really help me.”

It was at the camp, where Kyle first came into contact with Service Dog Warren Retrievers. For the past year, the family has been trying to raise money for a service dog, but the cost is not covered by insurance. Their goal is $25,000, so far through fundraisers, they have raised more than $15,000.

“The dog will be to able recognize when Kyle is getting upset and be able to calm him down,” Vega said. “He responds very well to animals.”

In May, the family was struck by another tragedy when Kyle’s grandmother died in an ATV accident. Vega said her mom played a tremendous role in taking care of Kyle and helping to fund raise for the service dog. The loss devastating their family.

“She was a major supporter of the whole thing,” Vega said. “With her being gone it’s been rough.”

The family clinging onto hope and pushing forward with their goal.

“I’m thankful for all my friends that have been helping me through this moment,” Kyle said.

To help Kyle receive a service dog, CLICK HERE.

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