WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Students from Steenrod Elementary came out Friday evening to show their support for one of their classmates.

Friday night’s benefit helped raise money for a service dog and training for a service dog for third grader Max Freshwater who suffers from Malan Syndrome.


Max is one of only 150 people in the world to be diagnosed with this disease that essentially affects a person’s depth perception and visual tracking.

The benefit is part of a Compassion Project at the elementary school and according to Max’s mom, Chelsea, the third grade class took $200 from the project they received to help pay for the supplies needed for the benefit.

He’ll be independent. We will not have to worry so much. Every single day it’s a worry is he going to fall in the hallway. Is he going to out of the classroom? Is he going to walk out front door? It will just be a weight lifted off of our shoulders.

Chelsea Freshwater, Max’s Mom

Max’s mom says the waitlist for a service dog is two years.

So, Max is very close now to getting his service dog.

Max and his mom will attend a two-week training course in Xenia, Ohio.

She says the total cost of the service dog will be about $20,000.