SC family helps raise money for service dog for teen with specia - - Columbia, South Carolina |

SC family helps raise money for service dog for teen with special needs

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(Source: Lexi's Service Dog Facebook) (Source: Lexi's Service Dog Facebook)

On Saturday, those at Irmo Community Park were doing more than just enjoying the weather.

They were raising money for 15-year-old Alexander "Lexi" Madsen, a teenager who lives on the other side of the country.

"He has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and he also has Bipolar Disorder, and a couple of other things," said Natasha Gravel, an organizer of the fundraiser and Lexi's cousin. "He needs a service dog."

Madsen was partnered with Pippin, an Autism service dog through Pawsitive Service Dog Solutions.

Pawsitive raises and trains service dogs for children with various special needs, particularly those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. .

"It will be able to sense when his emotions are kind of off balance and it will be able to comfort him when he's not feeling well, when he gets angry, upset about something," Gravel said.

Lexi lives in California, but has family in South Carolina. The family is so thankful for the support of South Carolinians.

"It gives me faith in this community," Gravel said.

Proceeds from Saturday's event will go toward Lexi's service dog fund.

"They've already picked the dog," Gravel said. "The dog is already training personally with Lexi. We're really excited. We're just trying to make it happen."

It will be more than just a helpful pet, to Lexi. His family says it will be a way for him to live life to the fullest.

"What he's most excited about his service dog is that he's going to have a friend," Gravel said.

They need to raise $12,500 to be able to get the service dog.

For more information on how to help, visit or click here.

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