Ailing Tampa girl gets help from Atlanta online radio host - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Ailing Tampa girl gets help from Atlanta online radio host

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ATLANTA -

Lorna Steff, 17, is a beautiful and vibrant girl with dreams of being a model. But two years ago Steff's life hit a painful roadblock.

She found out she has Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, which is believed to affect the nervous system and brain. Eventually Steff started having blackouts and her therapy dog, a German Shepherd, wasn't strong enough to keep her from falling.

"I went to pediatricians. A lot of pain burning, stinging, stabbing. I usually stay in bed. I have a hard time walking. I was in wheelchair for four months," said Steff during a phone conversation with FOX 5's Karen Graham.
    
Steff thought her free-spirited life of independence was over until she met Atlanta online radio host Blake Rashad at a pet expo in Tampa.

"I saw that energy in her eyes. I was a police officer for 10 years. I can see bull. She just touched me. She just wanted her life back, nothing more nothing less," said Rashad.

Soon Steff's struggle to find a suitable therapy dog became Rashad's all-consuming mission.

"Her dilemma was nobody knew anything about her disease so getting a service dog was out and getting it paid for medically wasn't going to happen.  We just started looking at all the pounds to Gwinnett, DeKalb and Cherokee," said Rashad.

With the help of the Gwinnett Jail Dog Program, Rashad finally found a Great Pyrenees named King. He thought the dog would be perfect for Stepp.

King's rescue came in the nick of time. The dog was scheduled to be put down if he didn't find a home soon.    

Plans are underway to get Steff and King together. She says having the dog by her side will give her the confidence she needs to regain her independence.
    
Steff says having Rashad in her corner has renewed her faith in the kindness of strangers.

"For him to out of no where help me, it's like wow. To have community come together, it's amazing the greatest feeling you could have," said Steff.

There's been a fundraiser going on for a few months to get Steff to Atlanta on July 12th to pick up King, and to raise enough money to help defray the cost of King's food, grooming and veterinary costs for one year. If you'd like to help Stepp and King, click here.

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