SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Thanks to generous donations from individuals, local organizations and businesses, South Plainfield resident Samantha Kaczmarczyk is steps closer to getting the diabetic alert dog she desperately needs. 

Over the past two months, Kaczmarczyk has received an outpouring of support from the community and close to $9,000 has been raised to help the mother of three with Type 1 Diabetes. The cost of the trained canine is approximately $14,000 and is not covered by insurance. 

“We received more than half the amount that we need and, honestly, I am so grateful and appreciative of everything everyone has done. Most of it is from complete strangers and it is amazing how people have pulled together to help,” said Kaczmarczyk, a duty aide at Riley Elementary School and married mom of three girls ages 7, 4, and 9 months. 

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Since being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 14 years ago, Kaczmarczyk has relied on a continuous glucose monitor to track her sugar levels throughout the day and night. While the device has an alarm to alert her when levels rise and fall, Kaczmarczyk has been experiencing dangerously low glucose levels when sleeping and, since March, has woken up to an EMT administering a glucose shot on at least a half a dozen occasions. 

With her pump no longer doing its job effectively, Kaczmarczyk’s doctor advised that her only other form of recourse would be to get a diabetic alert dog; the canine, provided through Diabetic Alert Dogs of America, is trained to sniff blood and alert the individual and/or others of glucose levels before they get to a dangerous point.

“I have the pump and everything else that is available but it is not working for me,” Kaczmarczyk told TAPinto South Plainfield back in October. “A diabetic alert dog is now my only other option.” 

In an effort to help Kaczmarczyk raise the money needed for the dog, friend and fellow resident Renee Eggert launched a fundraising campaign (https://bit.ly/2topUWu). Over the past two months, family, friends, co-workers, residents, and even strangers have sent in monetary donations totaling over $4,000. Additionally, Kaczmarczyk received donations from Angelina’s Tavern along with $500 from the Italian-American Progressive League and $4,000 from the South Plainfield Elks #2298 following a Polish Dinner held in her honor. 

“I want to thank everyone, especially the Elks and Renee because, without them, I would not have anything,” said Kaczmarczyk. “I really appreciate what they have done for me. I wouldn’t have been able to get this far without them.”

Through the generosity of the community, Kaczmarczyk was able to pay Diabetic Alert Dogs of America the $2,500 deposit required to be placed on a 14- to 16-week waiting list for the dog. “We have about nine weeks left,” said Kaczmarczyk. 

Once Kaczmarczyk gets off the waiting list, it takes about six to eight months for the dog to be trained. Once training is complete, the remaining balance is due and, currently, Kaczmarczyk is approximately $5,000 short of the total needed for the dog. 

“We are still fundraising since the total cost is between $14,000 and $15,000,” said Eggert. “It’s still a long process but, every day, she is getting closer and closer to meeting her goal. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped raise this money for her.”

To help Kaczmarczyk raise the additional funds needed, Eggert, who works as a duty aide at the middle school and after care aide at Riley Elementary, has organized a district-wide jeans day for South Plainfield next month. The initiative, scheduled for Jan. 17, enables teachers and staff to donate $5 each to wear jeans to school to help raise additional funds. 

Additionally, anyone interesting in helping Kaczmarczyk can contact Renee Eggert at (908) 917-9967/reneeeggert@icloud.com. Arrangements can be made to pick up donations and checks, payable to Samantha Kaczmarczyk, can also be sent or dropped off to Renee Eggert, 104 Desepio Avenue, South Plainfield, NJ 07080.Donations can also be made through GoFundMe (https://bit.ly/33QLQqe).

“I want to thank everybody for their generous donations. It’s impossible to send a 'thank you' card to everyone, but I feel it is important to let them know how she is doing, how their donations have helped and how much they are appreciated,” said Eggert, adding, “Fingers crossed, we can raise the additional money she needs. She’s almost there.”