The burden of raising funds to purchase a diabetic alert dog for 3-year-old Lucia Mangan of Scott was lifted from her family's shoulders with one random act of kindness -- a $10,000 anonymous donation.
The money was deposited into the girl's account with 4 Paws for Ability, a nonprofit facility in Xenia, Ohio, specializing in training medical alert animals for children. The generous addition was discovered one day before an Aug. 26 charity hockey game benefit being held for Lucia, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in March.
Lucia's mother, Sarah Mangan, made the startling discovery when a random account balance check via email to 4 Paws showed they had earned $13,000 -- more than the expected balance of between $2,700 and $3,000 and enough to train their dog.
"Oh my goodness, I started crying," Mrs. Mangan said. "I seriously could not imagine that someone would donate $10,000 to someone they don't even know. I can't believe there are people out there like this."
Curious as to who the benefactor could be, the Meanings checked with 4 Paws only to find the donation had been made anonymously. At first, Mrs. Mangan had her suspicions, but she still is unsure as to who could have made the gift.
"I would tell them how grateful I am and how big of a deal this is for [Lucia], so she can get her dog," Mrs. Mangan said. "This could potentially save her life some day. They don't know how much this means to us."
Even though the funding was secured for Lucia's dog through the anonymous donation, the hockey benefit went on as scheduled, earning about $1,000 after expenses. Mrs. Mangan and her husband, Michael, donated the additional money to a family fundraising with 4 Paws that may be struggling to reach their goal.
"Somebody did it for us, so we thought we should do it for someone else," she said.
They asked officials at 4 Paws to decide which family would receive the funds. To train and raise a dog to become a diabetic alert dog costs about $21,000, of which $13,000 is expected to be raised by the recipient.
Another fundraiser already scheduled for Saturday will go on as scheduled, with proceeds from that event paid forward.
A bean bag tournament will be sponsored by Animal Friends at 4 p.m. at the Double Wide Grill, Route 228, Mars. Cost is $20 per team and proceeds will be split between Animal Friends and 4 Paws.
Lucia will have to wait a year before bringing her dog home from Ohio, where she will travel with her family to spend 10 days training with her dog. The size and breed of her dog will be kept as a surprise by 4 Paws.
Sonja Reis, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org