Nine-year-old Nate Feola's life has been fraught with one heartbreak after another. Born prematurely at 24 weeks, Nate spent his first five months of life in the hospital, then was released to the cruelties of his abusive parents. He was removed from their custody and placed with a caring, loving family, but Nate will live the rest of his life with an oxygen tank because he has chronic lung disease.
Nate carries around a 20-lb. canister of oxygen in his backpack every day, and his parents thought a service dog would help him become more independent by helping him with this burden. But even they did not foresee the incredible impact that the community could make on his life.
The Feolas wanted their son to be able to participate in more activities, but carrying the oxygen tank around limited Nate's ability to play with his friends. They hoped a service dog could be trained to carry the tank and give Nate some more flexibility. Unfortunately, service dogs are extremely expensive, and the Feolas were told that they would be looking at a $14,000 price tag. They could not afford that alone.
The family decided to create a YouCaring.com page in the hopes of raising some of the money needed for the dog. They were told that the dog would be specifically trained to wear a specially designed saddle to hold Nate's oxygen tank and assist him in keeping his balance. "Not just to where he can walk but to where he can run and he can play and he can do things independently even if he can't live independently," said Randy Feola, Nate's father.
The family's crowdfunding campaign went viral, and news stations all over the area began to spread the word. The generosity of the community began to show itself as donations poured in. Right before Christmas, the Feolas learned that they had achieved and surpassed their goal! Nate would be getting a service dog!
The Feolas shared this message with everyone who donated on the YouCaring.com page to help their son:
“Wow we will never forget the Christmas of 2017. The generosity of our community; the community that extends all around the US with the help of social media. Words can‘t express how blessed and loved we feel. To think just before Christmas we received $6,000. May God Bless all the hands that have made Nate’s wish come true. He will now have a forever [companion], best friend, HERO.”
Yes, Nate's dog is named Hero, an apt name for a dog who will grow up to be a means by which Nate can have mobility and a best friend who truly understands him at all times.
Congratulations to Nate and the Feola family! Hero will live up to his name, just like Nate already has. Watch the video below and share this moving story with your family and friends on Facebook.