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Breakfast with the Easter Bunny draws crowd, raises funds for diabetic alert dog

By Staff | Apr 26, 2019

One-and-a-half-year-old Emmett Unger takes an Easter egg from the Easter Bunny, during Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Blue Moon Cafe on Saturday morning. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN – After last year’s first annual Breakfast with the Easter Bunny proved to be a successful fundraiser for the Shepherdstown Centennial Lions Club, the event was brought back again this year to raise money for a good cause.

Proceeds from this year’s breakfast, according to club president Michael Sholl, will help the Hedgesville Lions Club purchase a diabetic alert golden retriever for a six-year-old boy.

“He has type one diabetes, which I didn’t have a whole lot of knowledge about before we met him,” said Hedgesville Lions Club President Delmar Barrett, mentioning the club learned about the boy’s need through his grandfather.

According to Barrett, children with type one diabetes have difficulty telling when their blood glucose levels are increasing. The dog will be trained to sense and warn others when the boy’s blood glucose levels are too high, which could potentially save his life.

“They have to be very particular, to make sure the dog has the right temperament to be a diabetic alert dog. It’ll be a 24/7 deal with that dog,” Barrett said, mentioning the dog will be purchased through a training facility in Las Vegas, and will be trained for one year before being flown to Hedgesville with its trainer. The trainer will remain with the dog for one week, to help with the transition process.

Kathryn Patton, of Shepherdstown, holds one-year-old Violet Patton, while helping 18-month-old Leon Bianchotti take an egg from the Easter Bunny at Blue Moon Cafe on Saturday morning. Tabitha Johnston

“This dog is guaranteed for life, as long as the family takes care of him and gives him his shots,” Barrett said. “They’re anticipating the dog should be good enough to last 12 years, so when his dog will die, he’ll be 19 – old enough to sense what is going on.

“The Shepherdstown Lions Club has been so gracious to help us raise money for the dog. We thought this would be a great project to be involved with,” Barrett said, mentioning this project is also related to the Lions Club’s Sight First Program. “With diabetes, it’s not just your blood sugar that affects your life, but it can also cause people to go blind.”

While many attendees came out to support the Lions Club, others came out to get pictures with the Easter Bunny.

“We’re trying to make this a tradition. It’s really sweet,” said Kathryn Patton, of Shepherdstown, who came to the event with her daughter and their neighbors. “We come here to eat all the time, and wanted to support our local Lions Club.”

According to Sholl, this year’s breakfast drew at least as many people as last year’s event.

“We’ve had 250 people at least. It was a great turnout,” Sholl said, before explaining why Shepherdstown’s club chose to help another club with its fundraising efforts. “We’re a newer club, and want to show the other clubs that we support them. We’re like one big happy family.”