I am fundraising for NEADS, This is my story.
A machinist by trade, cabinetmaker by hobby, I served over 15 years as a high school and college level trades instructor, teaching shop skills, until I was no longer able, because of Multiple Sclerosis. Following a necessary retirement from public education, I continued to remotely provide part time manufacture engineering services for an additional 8 years. Then, my MS cognitive deficiencies required me to accept a full retirement mode of life.
8 years ago I was approved for a service dog but opted for a NEADS "flunky" dog instead. The dog's name was Yukon Joe. Even though he did not successfully complete his NEADS training, he still had many commands which he responded to. The most important of these being his command to grab a "Phone", should I fall, and his willingness to "Wait", while I waddled up a flight of stairs (so I can navigate the stairs alone). Joe could "Fetch" dropped items, use his "Paws" to open disability pads at entrance doors, bring his "Leash" and assist to "Dress" into the leader. Joe intuitively "knew" when I was experiencing a "messy" day and always maintained close proximity on those days. My boy, Yukon Joe, died October 27th this past fall.
As my Secondary Progressive MS disease has progressed, my needs for a fully trained service dog have increased. My disease symptoms vary, but my major afflictions are weakness, fatigue and cognitive inabilities. I don't walk well and employ a walking stick to maintain my balance. However, I am still blessed with an ability and the good fortune to be able to cycle and fundraise. Over the past 20 years, my wife Lisa, my sister Ellen and I have participated in many fundraising walks and rides for Diabetes, Alzheimer's and Multiple Sclerosis. Fundraising for NEADS, is the first time I have raised funds for my own benefit.
Preparing a dog for service, costs NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services) about $42,000. It is their philosophy that clients should have a vested interest in their dogs and a willingness to "pay it forward". It is my privilege to be able to participate in necessary fundraising and public awareness efforts about the wonderful works that they are accomplishing for a wide variety of service dog applications.
My minimum fund raising goal is $8,000. All funds beyond that will be put to good use by NEADS assisting others in need! I am reaching out for your help and support. Any tax deductible donation you can contribute will be greatly appreciated!
Many sincere thanks in advance!