Sponsor a Client

Hi, my name is Kelly Bucchere. I was born with a birth defect known as Spina Bifida. This has caused complete paralysis of my legs below the level of my knees and partial paralysis in the rest of my legs. As a result, I utilize a wheelchair for mobility. I have always been extremely independent, sometimes to a fault.

Hello, my name is Victoria Davis. I am a freshman at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. I have been fighting with a connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome for six years now. This genetic disease makes it so that my joints dislocate on their own accord due to a collagen fiber mutation, it is extremely painful and there is no cure.

My name is Robbie Dudzisz and I am C6-7 quadriplegic. I’m a student at the University of New Hampshire. I enjoy being active and play wheelchair rugby for the NEP Wildcats. With my busy and stressful schedule a service dog would give me independence and simplify life. Opening doors, picking up objects, turning on/off lights, are just a few tasks my dog Shevlin now assists me with.

Diagnosed with MS, Michelle hopes to have an assistance dog in time to train together before she becomes more disabled. Michelle was very active and independent before the MS and feels that a dog would help her to feel whole again.

I began working with NEADS in 2005 and received my first Service Dog in 2006. I discovered more independence that I never knew was possible with my Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral palsy. Things that I benefited from were: picking up dropped items, accessing the fridge, light switches, and opening doors just to name a few.

My name is Joe Hurley. In May of 2012 I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the nerves. Before that, I was actively competing in Mixed Martial Arts and held a full time job.

Hello! My name is Chanel, I am sixteen years old. I live in Boston Massachusetts with my family. I was born with a disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. This causes my bones to be vulnerable to fractures with as little as a sneeze. My bones are so brittle that I cannot walk on them so, I have been using a power wheelchair as my main source of mobility since the age of three. I am in the middle of my Sophomore year of High School and I am striving to be more independent as the college years approach. I am looking for help in raising funds for a service dog to further increase this independence.

Many of you knew my previous service dog Dooley, and how devastating it was for me to lose him. I still miss him everyday as he was my constant companion for the past 8 years. While it is easy to dwell in the past, I am choosing to look forward, and the reality of the situation is that I need another service dog. Yesterday, I went to NEADS for an interview and the beginning of another amazing adventure with NEADS and a new dog.

I am excited to be joining the NEADS family and developing a partnership with Bella. Bella will serve as both a ministry dog and a service dog assisting me personally. As a minister and an animal-lover, I cannot think of a more ideal way to “do” ministry. Bella and I will serve our congregation, community, and region in many ways: through congregational and interfaith worship and events; pastoral care visits to nursing homes and hospitals; and crisis response to recovery and reunification centers in Petersham and the wider region. We will respond to requests by local clergy of any faith as well as regional fire, police, and other emergency responders.

Hey there! My name is Bennett Lamson and I'm a 30-year-old guy with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a form of Muscular Dystrophy. I grew up in the small town of Sandown, NH but currently reside in Portsmouth, NH. SMA is a progressive neuromuscular disease. Although I am overall in fairly good health, my muscles are weakened to the point where I am 100% dependent for all my physical care. That hasn't stopped me from striving to and succeeding in being the most independent person I can be.

I was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease, a neuromuscular illness that occurs when the mitochondria cannot generate enough energy for the body’s demands. It is progressive and incurable, and can lead to a shortened life expectancy. It often includes muscle pain and weakness, neuropathy, extreme fatigue, and complications related to organ failure. To some extent every day, I experience dizziness, nausea, pain, and exhaustion. I am frequently unable to do things for myself. As this devastating disorder has caused increasing limitations, I realized the need for the independence, mobility, and freedom that can come through canine assistance.

My name is Karen and I live in Storrs, CT. I have been dependent on a wheelchair for mobility for the past four years. I was been diagnosed with a progressive neuro-muscular disease that resulted in neuropathy and partial paralysis.I did my best to remain very active, including playing sled hockey for a team in Arizona and also on the USA Women’s National team.

I’ve been a paraplegic for 28 years and due to arthritic changes in my cervical spine, I’ve lost strength and dexterity in my hands. I continue to work for the Center for Living and Working, Inc. where I work to help other people with disabilities gain and maintain their independence. My daughter is now 20 years old and serving our country as a United States Marine.

I received the best Christmas present on December 23, 2014 when I was accepted into the NEADS program to receive a service dog. My name is Mary Marco and my previous service dog passed away this past August. I live alone and I fall a lot. It has been very difficult for me since Mandy is no longer there to help me get up.

My name is Nicholas and I am a quadriplegic. In April, 2012 I was involved in a dirt biking accident that would change my life drastically. Since I was about 13 years old, my passion has always been riding dirt bikes with my friends. I was a healthy young man graduating from high school in June of 2012. I had a contract to go into the Navy August, 2012. My dream was to be a Navy SEAL for which I was training hard with a group of young men in the hopes of being accepted to the SEALS once boot camp was finished. My plans changed. I had a tragic accident on April 7th, 2012 which left me as a C-5 quadriplegic.

I have recently been matched with Murray. He has been such an amazing gift. I was diagnosed with MS in 2010 after 20 years of symptoms. I have weakness on both sides, more on the left and my balance is starting to become a problem.  I drop things frequently and have difficulty picking things up from the floor.

Hello, my name is Marie Neault. I suffer nerve damage and chronic pain associated with numerous surgeries to treat endometriosis. So many damaging aspects of my surgeries, including scar tissue, have damaged most of my internal organs and complications continue.

I am a 24-year-old student at UMass Boston, studying psychology and women's & gender studies, which I love. I was diagnosed with type II spinal muscular atrophy around three years old. It is a genetic disease resulting in the death of motor neurons, causing worsening system-wide muscle weakness. As a small child, I could walk slowly and for short distances. I had a spinal fusion to correct scoliosis at age eleven, which caused me to lose this ability and my weakness began to manifest much more rapidly. I require the use of an electric wheelchair both at home and out in the world. Although I am unable to transfer in and out of my wheelchair on my own, once in it, I go about my day as independently as possible. I've learned to adapt to my surroundings, and have become quite crafty in figuring out alternative ways to do things. Still, it is not an impeccable plan. Things can and do go wrong.

Welcome! I am L. Elizabeth Shaw originally born and raised in Portland, Maine. I am 46 years old and have happily worked in medicine and social work even though I have been on full Social Security Disability since the age of 19. I always worked when I could. I now have severe poly peripheral neuropathy; nerve damage in my hands and feet. This is a progressive illness which began with tingling in my toes to now being unable to feel the ground under my feet.

Marina needs a puppy to turn itself upside down to help her! Marina had an accident while riding her horse and now needs a dog to help.

I am a 62 year old semi-retired registered nurse that has had 12 spine surgeries to correct a severe Scoliosis and now Kyphosis. If you are not familiar with that term it means that my back goes forward into a “Quasimodo” kind of posture - not erect at all. As a result, I have gone from being 5'7" tall to 4ft 11" tall.

I was diagnosed with ALS this past June of 2013. It has been a challenging journey for me and my loving family dealing with this every moment of every day. ALS is a degenerative Motor Neuron Disease. At this point, I have begun to walk with a walker. I keep active, go to work every day, and am driving. As the disease progresses, these activities will become more challenging. Not long after hearing about the work done at NEADS and going through an interview, they provided a beautiful yellow lab named Swanson in March of 2014. She has been such a blessing. Aside from performing tasks that help get me through the day (fetching, retrieving, opening doors, etc), she has brought a sense of joy and peace to our family which was absent for a while. I am now taking care of Swanson so she can take care of me.

Katya is a college student. She was born with spina bifida, has had several surgeries including spinal fusion, and walks with crutches. Her goal is to be able to live independently and make a contribution to the world.

Injured in a car accident in 1982, Cyndi is an incomplete parapalegic and needs to use a cane to help her get around. She attends Charter Oak State College as a commuting student and a dog would be a great friend and assistant.

Hi, I'm Sandy, pictured here with my second NEADS dog, Rally. I was diagnosed with Juvenile RA when I was 13. Over the years, the disease has left me with a severe mobility impairment.

Hello Friends! Let me tell you all a little bit of my situation. During the past few years, the diabetes that I suffer from has taken its toll. It has rendered me completely disabled. To add insult to injury, I also have developed neuropathy in my left leg. Even with the use of a walker and or cane, getting around is very unsafe for me at best.

Catherine Vrtis is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate at Tufts University. She also has Ehlers-Danlos, a rare, degenerative genetic disorder primarily effective the musculo-skeletal system, and as a result usually has to use a wheelchair for locomotion.

For years I took in and helped difficult dogs, and now I’m the one that needs the help of a dog. For more than thirty years I was a psychotherapist often taking on the most difficult cases; and I did the same with dogs, adopting the most challenging and least likely to be rescued from the area shelters. Until 1994, when I was injured in a hiking accident with my dog, I was physically active, including tending my organic garden which fed me and another family. After the accident, I lost the stabilizing ligament in my left knee which began the long decline. Unfortunately, due to another dog clipping me in a neighbor’s yard, the same thing happened to my right knee.

My name is Brent Woodard, and I am 21 years old. Since I was born, I have been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, more specifically, Spastic Quadriplegia. In addition, I am prone to seizures and strokes; I'm considered to be high risk. With all of these associated health concerns, I applied for a service dog. Fortunately, my wish was granted, and I have been approved for a service dog. This dog will become my companion and my safety net, especially with me wanting to be more independent.