Local crafters, artisans and small business are getting behind a new fundraiser supporting a little Lloydminster girl in need.

Heath Rice, owner of Metal & Mayhem Welding & Fabrication, is organizing an online auction with all proceeds going towards helping Kashlyn get a service dog. Rice says he doesn’t know her or her family personally but once he heard their story he wanted to do something for them.

“Your heart goes out to her. I’m sure a lot of people can relate with children. What wouldn’t you do for your child? Her family has been doing an awesome job with the bottle drive and support from other members of the community. I feel like this can be another way to help them get them over their goal.”

At five-months-old, Kashlyn had an eye exam and was referred to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton where they diagnosed her with septo-optic dysplasia.

“Basically, her optic nerves didn’t develop fully and it ended up with her being visually impaired,” her mother Taryn Bone explains. “Along with that, her pituitary gland didn’t develop, that controls her hormones, and also she has no septum pellucidum which is a part of her brain. On top of that, she has some other things going on and also she was just diagnosed with autism.”

Bone says doctors have recommended she get a service dog to help guide her as well as help with any behavioral problems. She adds her daughter has been bumping into walls due to her visual impairment

In order to get a service dog with two-years of training, the family needs to raise about $25,000 and an additional $5,000 to pay for hotels and other daily costs when they travel to the city for Kashlyn to train with the dog.

Bone says she was speechless when Rice first called her out of the blue to talk about the idea.

“I couldn’t really believe that someone I didn’t know would want to step up for me and my daughter. He said he had some other friends that wanted to step up too and donate items and it just blew up from there. It’s kind of mind-boggling how much people have stepped up.”

Over the next month and a half, Rice will be adding donated items to the auction page. He asks businesses to send him a message on social media about their donations before March 30th. The auction is scheduled to close on April 2nd at 5 p.m. and winners will pick up their items directly from the businesses who donated them.

Rice says, in about 18 hours since he posted the online auction page, 12 community members have pledged an item or service. He encourages all local businesses and small crafters to reach out and participate.

“I hope everybody can find it in their heart to give a little something if they can and give back to the community that’s given so much to us as small business people, crafters, artisans. We can make this happen.”

With just over half of the funds ($16,000) needed to reach their goal of $30,000 and she hopes the auction will push them to the end point. Bone thanks all the businesses and residents who are donating items for the cause as well as those who helped them with their bottle drive at the end of January.

“I’ve always helped out in the community but I wasn’t expecting so many people to step up and help out especially with what’s going on in the world right now. People are struggling with jobs and struggling themselves. To help out even if it was a bag of bottles; we’re so appreciative.”