FRONT ROYAL, VA. (WUSA9) - Three-year-old Landon Cook is like so many other toddlers. He's curious loves to play with his toys and is full of laughter.
But Landon's three years haven't been easy, especially this past year. Two weeks before Christmas, his mom, Jessica Cook noticed he was having to use the bathroom more frequently and has an unquenchable thirst.
"On Christmas Day, he woke up and didn't want to open presents. He was crying, saying he was thirsty and just didn't feel good," said Cook.
The next 24 hours, Cook says Landon wouldn't stop throwing up, so she decided to take him to the emergency room, thinking he had the stomach flu.
"The strangest thing about that day was going to Winchester. There are about ten traffic lights, and every single one of them was green that day. I knew in my head that something was wrong and it was a sign we needed to get there right away," she said.
As it turns out, a mother's instinct was right. Landon was in diabetic ketoacidosis. That's when doctors diagnosed him with Type 1 Diabetes.
"The doctor said if we would have stayed home much longer he wouldn't be with us today. There're little symptoms that you wouldn't think would be such a terrible disease," said Cook.
The Cooks are learning to live with Landon's disease. He gets about five different shots a day, and they have to monitor him closely.
Over the course of the last year, their family and community have been able to raise $10,000 for Landon to be able to get a diabetes dog. Because he's so young and can't tell his parents how he's feeling, the dog would be able to sense from his breath whether his blood sugar levels are high or low.
They are still about $4,000 short to get a service dog for Landon from Medical Mutts. They have a GoFundMe page where they are still looking for donations.
"It's been an emotional rollercoaster. There's not a week that goes by that I don't cry. There are always nights where I don't really sleep well. Every time I go to his room I hold my breath until I know he's breathing," said Cook.
Now she is warning other parents that signs of thirst, frequent urination, and fatigue could be much more than just the stomach flu.
"It's better to be safe than sorry," she said.
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