Author Evan Moss, age 7, certainly couldn’t have expected this when he set out to raise $13,000 to buy a specially trained service dog to help him with his epileptic seizures: He has now raised more than $42,000, enough to buy not only a dog for himself, but complete the fund-raising and buy service dogs for SEVEN other children with epilepsy.
Evan also was featured recently in People magazine, which flew him and his family to Ohio to the place where the “seizure dogs” are trained, and he also received a set of children’s books signed by their authors, including Mary Pope Osborne (the “Magic Tree House” series) and Todd Parr (the “Todd” series). Parr wrote, “Evan, you are a very cool guy. Keep doing what you are doing. Love, Todd.” Which is how all his books end, too.
Evan lives in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County with his sister, Aria, 9, and his parents Rob and Lisa. He has tuberous sclerosis complex and epilepsy, and the severe seizures he suffers could be life-threatening. Evan’s parents then learned that a specially trained dog could detect the seizures before they happened, alert Evan’s parents to them, and assist Evan in crowded public spaces. But such a dog costs $22,000 to train, and the place that does that, 4 Paws for Ability, asks recipients to pay $13,000 of that.
So Evan had the idea to write a book, “My Seizure Dog,” about how the things he would do with such a dog. He illustrated it, his mother typed up the prose, and the family self-published it. Then, they ordered up 150 copies for a book signing at a coffee shop.
But after an article appeared in The Washington Post, and on this blog, 150 copies just wasn’t enough.
The book rapidly sold out, and Evan took hundreds of orders for more, as people from as far away as New Jersey and Pennsylvania showed up at the signing, some with their own seizure dogs. Dozens of readers asked how they could donate. Before long, Evan had raised far more than the $13,000 he needed.
But people kept buying the book. Other made donations without buying the book, which for a time was number one on Amazon.com’s ”Children’s Health” bestseller list, and is still number 23.
Because Evan hadn’t raised much money before his book was published, he was not slotted to receive a dog this year. The training of such a dog takes more than a year.
But People magazine flew the Mosses to Xenia, Ohio, where he could be photographed with some Labradoodle puppies, one of whom might become Evan’s some day, his mother said. His dog should be ready next summer, 4 Paws director Karen Shirk said.
Other children in need of dogs had fund-raising efforts underway through 4 Paws for Ability, and still needed various amounts to reach $13,000. Evan’s fund-raising will now enable seven of those kids, in addition to Evan, to get seizure dogs, Lisa Moss said Thursday.
“It’s been amazing,” Lisa Moss said. “Our life is just now starting to get back to normal.”
And just this week, another Post reader from Chevy Chase stepped up to offer Evan something particularly special: a vast Pokemon collection of cards, video games and other “pocket monster” esoterica. Lisa Moss anticipates that out of all the attention and kudos that Evan has received, the Pokemon collection will be the most memorable moment for him.