Vicki Santo knows all too well the importance of service animals.
The wife of Ron Santo, a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and Type 1 diabetic, witnessed the significance firsthand when the Santos’ own dog, Joker, seemed to recognize when Ron’s blood sugar crashed and would alert her by panting.
When Ron passed away in 2010 from complications of bladder cancer and diabetes, and Joker only weeks later, from cancer, Vicki became aware of trained diabetic alert dogs.
In honor of both Ron, a longtime supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Joker, she decided to create the Ron & Vicki Santo Diabetic Alert Dog Foundation.
Since 2013, the mission of the non-profit organization has been to give diabetics in need the opportunity to have their own alert dog that they could never otherwise afford.
The dogs are professionally trained to alert when blood sugars change, according to the Foundation’s website, giving the diabetic time to either eat if necessary or take insulin.
Through the Foundation, Vicki hopes to achieve one of Ron’s life goals: to not only raise money to find a cure for diabetes, but also help others to live productively and independently while dealing with the complications that may come with the disease.
Every dollar donated helps match certified, highly-trained, life saving dogs with diabetics in need.
This year, the Foundation was able to fund the training of five diabetic alert dogs who met with their new families on August 17 at Ray Auto Group. The celebration continues Sept. 3 when those five children, along with their dogs, will walk to the on deck circle at Wrigley Field.
To learn more about the charity, visit RonSantoFoundation.com.
23 N US-12, Fox Lake, IL 60020