DURHAM (WTVD) — Madison Pino is five years-old. She just started first grade and she has a one in a million neurological disorder called Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood.

The Pino family said they need help raising funds for training a service dog for Maddie to help when she’s battling an episode of paralysis or epilepsy brought on by AHC.

Donate to Madison’s Go Fund Me Page

„It is a disorder which combines really multiple disorders together,“ Duke Children’s Hospital Dr. Mohamed A. Mikati said. He added that children with AHC suffer from reoccurring episodes of paralysis, epilepsy, painful stiffening, and attention deficit hyperactive disorder.

Dr. Mohamed A. Mikati is the Division Chief for Pediatric Neurology at Duke Children’s Hospital. He’s a professor of both pediatrics and neurobiology at Duke University and one of the leading researchers studying the disorder.

Dr. Mikati helped discover the mutation in the gene that causes the disorder.

He’s also Maddie’s doctor, and Maddie’s dad, Jason, said their family moved from their home in Beuford, S.C. to Durham in 2013 to be closer to Mikati and Duke Children’s Hospital.

The Pino family is hoping to train their dog Lucy to be a service dog for Maddie. That way Lucy can alert them if Maddie is having an episode, giving them time to administer medication if it’s an epileptic episode, or providing support for her if it’s an episode of paralysis.

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Dr. Mikati said episodes of paralysis in children who have AHC can alternate from one side of their body to the other and episodes can last anywhere from minutes, hours, days or even weeks.