IMPERIAL, Mo. — Kristen Curtis is like a lot of 10-year-old girls. Her favorite color is pink. She loves to paint. And, of course, there are subjects in school that she likes more than others.
"I'm allergic, very allergic to math and science," admitted Curtis.
As it happens, though, Curtis is also allergic to gluten, milk chocolate, very allergic to shrimp, seafood and fish. It started on March 22, her mom's birthday dinner.
"Kristen got some [shrimp] on her plate as she was walking over, took a bite and immediately just went 'ahem,' described Rebecca Curtis, Kristen's mom.
The family was cooking a seafood meal. Later that night, Kristen went into her mom's room.
"She was holding her chest and stomach, and she said, 'mom, it hurts so bad' and right then she just collapsed," her mom said.
Rebecca and her husband Josh Curtis rushed their daughter to the emergency room, where they confirmed that the shrimp was the culprit.
"So, to do it, you pop open this, pull it out," Kristen showed 5 On Your Side how to use her Epi-Pen, which she carries with her at all times.
It's a tool that is familiar to many with allergies, but Kristen's, in particular, is more severe than most.
"They test from 0-100. They got her numbers back. She was 258," Josh said.
The family is not able to go to most restaurants. Even going to the grocery store or the mall can be dangerous.
"I'm so allergic that if I just smell it, I react," said Kristen.
After months of brainstorming about what they could do, the family decided that a service dog may be the answer to their prayers.
"Her [Kristen's mom] or myself would take the dog into a room and actively tell the dog to search, so the dog would clear the room and say, as of this moment, nothing is in this room and it's safe for her," Josh said.
Curtis found a trainer in Colorado Springs willing and able to train the dog. The trainer will then fly the dog to Imperial where he or she can give Kristen the freedom that most 10-year-olds take for granted.
"She can develop her own routine, to learn how to deal with these contaminants in her life," said Josh.
The dog itself costs $22,500. This does not include one-year of special training and transporting the dog to Missouri.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the service animal. Anyone who would like to donate, click here.