A service dog for Sutton: 9-year-old boy with autism awaits priceless gift

GERMANTOWN (WITI) -- Holidays are a time for giving and one local family is more than grateful for the community support.

As lights twinkle on one Christmas tree, one decoration stands out.

"A dog print with the puzzle pieces inside of it. It's a stunning colorful ornament," said Jay Kleba, helping raise funds for family.

The ornament was created by Jay Kleba and a friend of his, in honor of a 9-year-old Sutton Lindgren, who was diagnosed with autism at age 2.

"He's a fun loving affectionate child which is very rare for a child with autism," said Heather Lindgren, Sutton's mother.

But Sutton does deal with his fair share of challenges -- Heather, says safety is her biggest concern.

"Unfortunately we've had a couple of incidents where it's really been scary for us as parents -- one time he ran into 4 lanes of traffic and just escaped from the house, he learned how to unlock the doors. At that moment I knew that day, that I could have lost my son," said Heather.

Worried, Heather searched for a way to help stop him from being able to wander off.

"I found this great place called 4 Paws for Ability that actually trains dogs for children with autism and other children with special needs," said Heather.

The price of protection is hefty.

"As a family, we've committed to raise $14,000 4 Paws for Ability, so they will give a free autism assistance dog to Sutton -- so we've been doing fundraisers," said Heather.

Kleba, whose son in Sutton's classmate, wanted to help as part of a service project for Cub Scouts. He's raising money by selling specially made ornaments.

"Every penny of it goes to his family," said Kleba.

For just $10 supporters have a tangible memory of helping a vibrant carefree kid who awaits a gift -- that for him, is priceless.

"I couldn't ask for a better community. There are people out there that will help you in your time of need," said Heather.

Sutton's family has also held its own fundraisers. So far, they are already at the $12,000 mark and only need $2,000 more to reach the goal.

If you would like to donate to help Sutton get a service dog, CLICK HERE.