Boy Sells Pumpkins to Earn Diabetes Alert Dog

Almost every kid wants a dog but some kids need one.

Ian Unger is a Type-1 diabetic. He needs to constantly monitor his blood sugar and will for the rest of his life. He has to always have supervision and can’t even ride the bus to school. In order to be as independent and social as possible, he wants a diabetic alert dog that will warn him when his sugars are off, but they can cost up to $25,000.

“If he is rising or falling fast, the dog will alert him to that,” says Katrina Christensen, Ian’s mother, “He can correct that before it becomes an issue.”

The dogs are known to be able to give Ian a 45-60 minute heads up on a sugar crash or spike. Ian didn’t qualify for coverage by insurance or any other program so he would have to come up with the full cost.

“We didn’t really want to ask people for money,” says Christensen, “We are just trying to raise it on our own. We’re trying to teach him that if he wants something, he works for it.”

His parents told him it would probably take a few years but Ian started brainstorming.

“I was thinking about it when we were doing the garden and I was thinking about doing a lemonade stand,” says Ian, “I did it one day and I got a lot of money.”

Then came the pumpkins. His family had grown and sold a small garden of pumpkins for decades. After his grandfather died, Ian took over.

“I planted them,” Ian says, “I didn’t do very good with the weeds but I did plant them really good.”

As they grew, he planned to sell them and add the money to his dog fund. He had 150 pumpkins from the garden and those sold out in a couple days.

“I expected to sell at least the garden but I didn’t expect to sell this many,” says Ian, “I kept getting donations and I couldn’t believe how many pumpkins I got already.”

People saw his stand, heard his story and donated pumpkins, they kept flying off his cart. His story was shared across the country and those who couldn’t buy, donated online and this week they hit their goal and then some. Ian didn’t even hesitate with what to do with the extra money.

“We want to give money to other people that need it like ones that have Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes,” says Ian, “when they need a dog or they need something we will just give them the money.”

Pumpkins will change Ian’s life. His work with change the lives of several more. Ian made it look so easy with the script to roadside pumpkin sales.

When asked what the secret is to selling lots of pumpkins he said:

“Niceness and cuteness.”