Giana Ott will be getting her service dog.
Giana, 7, has the rare brain disorder schizencephaly, and her family has been fundraising for two years to get her a service dog. This week, the Ott family announced they had exceeded the $13,000 goal. Story Body:

Giana Ott will be getting her service dog.
Giana, 7, has the rare brain disorder schizencephaly, and her family has been fundraising for two years to get her a service dog. This week, the Ott family announced they had exceeded the $13,000 goal.

The additional $1,000 they raised has been donated to a fund for another little girl seeking a service dog from the Ohio-based group called 4 Paws 4 Ability.

Giana's dog will be trained for a year. Then Giana, a student at Williams Elementary School, will travel to Ohio to train with the dog for two weeks before returning home.

"She is very excited," said her father, Richard Ott.

Giana's condition was discovered shortly after her premature birth. It is a progressive disease that worsens over time. Her life is full of appointments with neurologists and regular physical and occupational therapy. Most of the day, she uses a wheelchair because she has become less steady on her feet over time. She takes six medications daily, which tend to leave her with a touch of ADHD and hypertension.

A service dog would help Giana with routine personal tasks and would help her emotionally as well.

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Each year, The Christophers, a Christian inspirational group, hold a national poster design contest for high school students, inviting them to create a poster interpreting the idea that "one person can make a difference."

It was recently announced on the website, christophers.org, that the first prize of $1,000 was awarded to Alexandria L. Wood, a senior at McCann Technical High School in North Adams. Wood's entry was based on a photograph of her classmate and fellow senior, Brittany Dorwin, who has Down syndrome. In the picture, Brittany, clad in the black, green and white uniform of a McCann cheerleader, smiles joyfully at the camera amidst a group of her peers.

Wood stated in a personal note to The Christophers: "I believe some people were put on this earth to make a difference, and my classmate Brittany is definitely one of those people. She shows us that if you try, anything is possible."

Wood's mother, Rhonda Wood, who told The Eagle about the poster award, says Alexandria will attend St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vt., this fall to major in communications with a concentration in journalism.