GARFIELD, N.J. — Elzbieta Biernacka of Garfield rarely sleeps these days.
Her 8-year-old son, Kacper, who has Autism and ADHD, wakes up between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. — and doesn't go back to sleep until 9 p.m. that evening.
To simply say Biernacka is exhausted would be an understatement. But she's got a lot of fight left in her, and is currently raising $17,000 to purchase a therapy dog for her son.
Biernacka's former colleague, Carlyle Myrie, has set up local donation sites at the gyms where he teaches spin to help raise the remaining $5,000.
"I worked with these wonderful kids [who have special needs] for over 15 years," said Myrie, formerly a paraprofessional in Teaneck.
"This is why I am so passionate about helping parents and children with Autism."
Kacper was approved for a dog from 4PawsForAbility , an Ohio-based organization. Once funds are raised, Kacper will have to wait 2 years before he gets his dog.
Biernacka, a special education teacher in Teaneck, is hoping the dog will help Kacper develop a better sleeping pattern, social skills and provide him with an outlet to calm himself down.
"I'm trying to get money as fast as I can and it’s difficult," said Biernacka, who lives with her two parents and Kacper.
"I feel pretty lucky that people that I don't even know have been so generous."
Kirin Hart, a Spanish teacher in Teaneck, says giving back to Biernacka isn't difficult.
"She's an incredible friend," Hart said. "She has all of her stuff going on and she still makes the time to listen and try to help out other people."