Editor’s Note: Corrections have been made to reflect how much money is needed and who is raising the funds.
WICKLIFFE, Ohio (WJW) – Seventeen-year-old Bridget Tetzlaff is an overachiever. Bridget is on the Wickliffe Bowling team, Academic Challenge team and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Hearing that, you’d be surprised to learn she has cerebral palsy, congenital heart disease and anxiety.
“Sitting around and moping around is not going to do anything,” Bridget said. “You just have to be like, ‘you know what, I’m going to go have fun with my friends.’”
Since being born prematurely, Bridget has overcome so much to make it to graduation.
“She’s been through two heart surgeries, numerous neurology and orthopedic interventions, facial reconstruction,” her father Roger Tetzlaff said.
Just standing and walking requires a lot of energy, but it doesn’t slow Bridget down.
“Even though she gets tired, she wants to push and push and push,” her mom Natalie Tetzlaff said. “She’s awesome.”
Bridget is also an animal lover.
“I have a couple of birds, a dog and a chinchilla,” Bridget said.
Bridget plans to study mechanical engineering at Kent State University after graduation, where her focus will be on developing better technology for people living with disabilities.
But after high school graduation later this year, Bridget won’t be able to take the family dog to college. So, her family is raising funds to help Bridget get a service dog from Working Animals Giving Service 4 Kids (WAGS 4 Kids).
“Having that emotional support from a service dog and having mobility support for me to lean on it when I’m tired from walking would save me a lot of energy,” Bridget said.
The fundraiser is set at $9K, a portion of the $35K needed for the dog and training. WAGS 4 Kids covers the remaining cost.
More than $2,000 has been raised already, but more is needed.
“It is going to be life-changing for her,” Natalie said. “When she has the support that she needs, she’s going to be able to go out and do so much and change the lives of so many people.”
Bridget is looking forward to college, where that service dog will help guide her to success.
“You can do anything as long as you set your mind to it,” Bridget said.