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Crisfield Community Rallies Behind Young Boy Battling Cancer and Diabetes

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CRISFIELD, Md.- An inaugural fishing tournament held over the weekend is helping a Crisfield family facing trying times. 

The Tangier Classic Fishing Tournament selected the Dodson family to be the cause behind it all. Lane Dodson is 7-years-old and he was diagnosed with leukemia and type 1 diabetes last year. 

Organizers went into the event hoping to raise around $6,000 to $8,000 to help Lane get a service dog. But in the end, organizers said they were able to raise more than $20,000 for the Dodson family. Wednesday night, organizers presented with the Dodson family with a check for the extra donations.

"When it first happened, you think I'll never get through this but our community has been amazing," Nicki Dodson, Lane's mother, said.

Lane received his service dog, Thunder, over the weekend. 

"She'll paw me or yip me," Lane said. "Or if I fall and sometimes my legs are too weak, she'll come and I can use her. I can put arms around her and get up."

Thunder is trained to alert Lane and his family when she detects changes in Lane's blood sugar level. Nicki Dodson said Thunder was able to detect a change within the first 30 minutes of meeting Lane. Already, Nicki Dodson said, Thunder has been a great addition to the family.

"Lane sleeps in his room at night. He hasn’t slept in his own room since he was diagnosed," Nicki Dodson said. "He says he’s always scared something will happen to him and he’s slept in his room every night since we’ve got her. So of course that makes him feel so much safer and it makes us feel better."

Thunder's training, Lane's parents said, allows her to help Lane in ways their family dogs cannot. 

"He's gone through more in seven years than people go through in a lifetime," Ryan Dodson, Lane's father, said. "I think their relationship is going to be a big help with him getting through it."

Event organizers said they were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support at the tournament. A total of 219 boats participated in the event that was sponsored by 44 organizations. The total amount raised also included matched donations from sponsors like Mountaire Farms and the title sponsor, Live Oak Home Builders, LLC. 

"We had so many sponsors get involved early on," Adam Corey, an event organizer, said. "In May, we had our T-shirt filled up. We didn't have any more room on the T-shirts for sponsors. We took in kind donations at that point and it was more than we ever expected."

Nicki and Ryan Dodson said they are humbled and blessed by the outpouring of love and support from the Crisfield community and from the many others out of town who participated in the event.

Corey said they're holding the classic fishing tournament next year at the Crisfield American Legion to help another family in the community. 

 

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