Client Fundraising Team

Support the Client Fundraising Team - Any amount! Make a donation to NEADS and help our clients fundraise to help sustain our program. Read their stories here, then make your donation to NEADS.

Abby Stavitsky

Abby Stavitsky has over 20 years’ experience as a federal criminal prosecutor in the District of Columbia, primarily handling child abuse, domestic violence and sexual offenses. Her dog will be helping victims, witnesses and first responders throughout the D.C. criminal justice system.

Ardis Mayo & Dekker

Here I am with Dekker, my new service dog.  For many people, great matches are made in heaven but this match was made at NEADS and couldn’t be more perfect.  One of Dekker’s most important tasks is to keep me moving and we take long walks every day, regardless of the weather. I walk slow…he…

Audrey Kirkpatrick

Let me just start by saying – thank you for your time. I have had hearing issues for several years but I still like to walk, garden, swim, and lead an active life.  A NEADS Service Dog for hearing would help me do that. Having a Service Dog would allow me to continue living my…

Benjamin Van Ryn & Brody

In the summer of 2015, Ben was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism; many people are more familiar with the term Asperger’s Syndrome. We always knew our Benjamin Bunny was quirky: when he was learning to walk, he’d never let you see him trying. As soon as you’d turn your head to see what he was…

Chris Rushe

Hello, my name is Christopher Rushe and I am 45 years old. I was born hearing, but became deaf at 25 from a condition called otosclerosis. It is a condition that affects the stapies bone and prevents transmission of sounds. I had a surgery to try and regain hearing in my right ear, but I…

Cognetta Family Fundraiser

Julianna Cognetta (one of our newest NEADS clients) has reached her fundraising goal but she has graciously decided to continue to fundraise for the benefit of other clients. Go Julianna!

Courtney Chmura

I am a 36 year old single mother to 5 wonderful children, who choose me to be there mom as much as I choose them. For over 10 years I was a foster/adoptive parent to over 60 foster children, and it was one of the best experiences in my life. I have always been a…

Courtney Wang

My name is Courtney Wang. I’m an occupational therapist at Galaxy Brain and Therapy Center, a neuro rehabilitation facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Galaxy is an amazing community of therapists and brain injury survivors who all work together to meet each survivor’s goals. Our clinic is very different than most. Our founding therapist, Meg, started…

David Kelly

Hello. I am David Kelly. I am the father of four adult daughters! I have been battling Multiple Sclerosis since 1989 – 29 years. I have never stopped moving – which I attribute to the reason why I am still able to get around. I have been accepted for a Service Dog. The dog will…

Deborah Boyd

I started losing my hearing about 15 years ago. I use to hunt and fish and when my hearing started going I quit doing those things because I couldn’t identify what was around me and it was not safe for me to continue doing so.  While I was living in PA our company scheduled a…

Derek Blake & Jean

Our son Derek has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder along with several sensory issues. Derek is a very smart tenderhearted child, but it can be challenging for him to fit in. He doesn’t understand why. It is upsetting for him and hurts him, which pains us deeply. He often struggles when entering social situations and…

Donna Kerr

Hello, my name is Donna Kerr. I have Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy type 2I (LGMD 2I), I am also a Breast Cancer Survivor. I live in a very small town in North Carolina. I live in farm country, rolling fields of corn and cotton, one of the best places I have ever lived. I work…

Ellyn Salkin & Murray

My name is Ellyn Salkin and I have been matched with Murray, a Service Dog for Therapy. As an advocate, counselor, and coach for people with autism spectrum disorders, other needs and different abilities, I’m thankful to have Murray by my side to provide comfort and encouragement. There are so many ways that Murray can…

Jennifer Moro & Doc

Hi, my name is Jennifer Moro and I am 43 years old.  I suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis, degenerative disc disease Spondylothesis and severe scoliosis. In 2011, I needed to have spinal fusion surgery. I went back to work afterwards but the pain was so bad I could no longer sit at my desk all day.…

Jessica Sinclair

Hi my name is Jessica Sinclair and I am a third year student at Rochester Institute of Technology, studying Journalism. I am trying to raise funds for a Hearing Dog to help me to live independently. I am currently working at Walmart Store, part-time while attending school, in hopes of earning funds towards my goal…

Joanne Coughlin

Empathy, self-confidence, inspiration, and love are core foundations to a successful learning environment. In my role as a Therapeutic Special Educator in an elementary school, I am able to support students in their development of a sense of self and security. We work together to identify and solve problems collaboratively and the tools they need…

John Stuhl

My name is John Stuhl, I am 48 years old, and have spent the last twenty seven years confined to a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down. On September 01, 1991, I suffered a spinal cord injury, a T-12 burst fracture, and the impact of the fall caused my lower vertebrae to burst, severing my…

Joseph Sala

It’s been a long time and a long way since being a daily runner and a passionate fan of classical music, even owning my own stereo components store. Hello everyone. My name is Joseph Sala. It has been for me a fortunate life having a number of varied and, I believe, successful careers. Toward the…

Josh Werner

Hi my name is Josh Werner, I’m a 22 year old college student who has had my fair share of frustrations and challenges in life. I have a rare bone condition called osteogenesis imperfecta, or OI for short. It is a genetic disorder which leads to bones that break easily, often from little or no…

Judi Earnest

Hello, My name is Judi Earnest. I have worked at Wayside Trauma Intervention Services in Milford since 2010 and I have volunteered since 2008. The clients I work with are victims/survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, children that witness domestic violence and family members of homicide victims. A NEADS Service Facility/Therapy Dog will provide comfort…

Julianna Cognetta

Hi! My name is Julianna Cognetta and I am a senior at Marlborough High School. I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when I was born and have been in a wheelchair ever since. In the Fall of 2018, I am planning to go to college for engineering. I want to go into engineering to build…

Katelynne Steinke & Jones

My name is Katelynne Steinke, and I am a 29 year old Paralympic hopeful, though truth be told I’m very close to the big 30. In November of 2008, I was in a car accident that severely injured my left leg. After two years of trying to salvage the limb, doctors made the decision to amputate above…

Lani Baker

Hi everyone! My name is Lani Baker and I am a 16 year old from Vermont. When I was 18 months old I was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 3 and have been in a wheelchair most of my life. Although I have walked, over the years my muscles have progressively gotten weaker and…

Lillian Fraser-Gray

Hi my name is Lillian Fraser-Gray and I am 12 years old. I have been in intensive therapy since 18 months old. I have been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, moderate retardation, Major Anxiety Disorder, ADHD, Mood Disorder, Auditory Processing Disorder, Mixed Receptive and Expressive Language Disorder, Sensory Integration Disorder, and cognitively stuck at about…

Lindsay Curtius & Star

My name is Lindsay Curtius. I am an Education Specialist at San Diego Cooperative Charter School 2. In July 2016, I had the opportunity to fly from California to the NEADS campus in Massachusetts to meet and train with Star, SDCCS’ Classroom Therapy Dog.

Maddy Woodford & Mutti

My name is Maddy, I’m 15 years old and I live in Raynham, MA.  I was diagnosed with ASD (Asperger’s) when I was twelve years old.  I have struggled with different things such as anxiety/depression, regulating my emotions, forming friendships and eating since I was little.  I also have a hard time when I am…

Mark Goldschmidt

The photo is of me with a handful of my students from the Resiliency for Life Program www.resiliencyforlife.org at Framingham High School in Framingham, MA.  We are a voluntary program that supports about 50 students in grades 9-12 who are struggling in school.  In almost all cases our students’ academic struggles are rooted in their…

Matt Fuson

My name is Matt, and I have lived with profound hearing loss my whole life. I did not receive hearing aids until I was seven years old. It has been a long journey to get to where I am today, but I am still far from being 100%. I’ve had 3 surgeries on my right…

Matthew Tomer & Livy

Our son, Matthew is on the autism spectrum.  He is twelve years old.  Matthew has struggled with developmental, social, sensory, ADHD and anxiety issues his whole life.  We are raising money for a service dog to help make his life a little easier. People on the autism spectrum have a hard time communicating and forming…

Megan Freeman

Hi, my name is Megan Freeman. I have just graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Management Information Systems. A unique fact about me is that I am deaf. Navigating college was a challenge but I didn’t let that stop me. I successfully graduated college with honors for my grades. During college,…

Michael Argenyi

Hey readers, I’m Michael Argenyi. I’m now in my 30s and I’m deaf. When I was a mere months old, my parents got the diagnosis and all my life, I was raised to be as independent as possible.

Paula McNeill

Hi Everyone! I’m Paula. I am a T8 paraplegic and have been for 8 years now. Since my injury I have continued to work, ski, bike, and generally be active. I am a mother of two amazing young adults who have left the nest. We, as a family, have always had dogs in the house,…

Phyllis Samara

My name is Phyllis Samara.  I was born with a moderate hearing loss, but I have never let my hearing loss stand in the way of accomplishing my goals. I have worked as an occupational therapist for 45 years. I graduated from the Sargent College at Boston University and I am a retired Professor Emerita…

Rachel Ballard & Lucy

Imagine a place where you know your neighbor- not just their name, but their parents’ names. Where your child’s teacher comes over for dinner. A present day Mayberry. This is the town of Rossville, Indiana. In a city that is mostly comprised of agricultural industry, the love of animals is something that seems to be…

Rev. Kelly Harvell & Benny

Benny has been a blessing to my ministry since we started working together. He has sat at the feet of grieving family members as they prepared for the funeral of a loved one. He also sat at their feet during the funeral. He often knows before I do that people are struggling and in need…

Rev. Vanessa Winters & Ginger

Hi, my name is Vanessa Winters and I am a United Church of Christ pastor in Midcoast Maine. As a solo pastor of a small church, Ginger is my partner in ministry and helps me with so many tasks that I could never accomplish alone. She accompanies me to worship services, visits to nursing facilities,…

Stephanie Smith

Tootsie has been a huge gift to Cathedral in the Night, an outdoor church in Northampton, MA. Our community is a blend of people experiencing poverty, homelessness, and addiction; people living with mental illness; and people seeking a social justice-oriented, progressive church. Our weekly Sunday worship services include a hot, free dinner, insuring that there…

Stephanie Zaia

My name is Stephanie Zaia. I am 28 years old and live in Medfield MA. I have a rare neurological condition called Dystonia. It causes my muscles to contract forcing my body to twist into painful positions. I started exhibiting symptoms at the age of 14 and since then my physical abilities have declined steadily.…

Sumer Gill

My name is Sumer Gill. Fun fact about me-I am partially deaf. I have been diagnosed with genetic and progressive vestibulocochlear nerve deafening which means I have problems hearing. This is most likely due to a condition that I have, Turners Syndrome, which is a genetic disorder that I was born with and that comes…

Tamela Manhart

For more than 11 years, I, Tamela Manhart, have worked with victims of domestic violence and sexual crimes in Bannock County, Idaho. As the Victim Witness Coordinator, I have witnessed the effects that the court system can have on children, elderly, vulnerable adults and others that have faced the long and sometimes frightening moments in…

Tia Maxson & Millie

My name is Tia Maxson. I cannot begin to tell you how much Millie, my Service Dog for hearing, has made a positive impact on my life. Millie has enriched my life in ways beyond what I could have ever imagined. I am single sidedly deaf in one ear and have 20% hearing loss in…

Tim Appel

Hi everyone! My name is Tim Appel and I am a founding teacher at the Roger Clap Innovation School, now Roger Clap Elementary, in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. I relocated to Boston from West Virginia in 2008 to serve in AmeriCorps with Generations Incorporated, a literacy non-profit that trains retired adults to serve as…

Timothy Compton

Meet our son Timothy! Timothy is a happy and energetic 9-year-old boy. He was born with autism. Autism makes life…interesting. Before preschool he was accurate to a 1/16th note on the drums. After playing with his grandmother’s piano for a few minutes, he began playing music from memory. He also knows a lot of facts about airports,…

Tracey Denelle

Hi All, I am a clinical social worker and an adjustment counselor working in the Plymouth Public Schools. I have focused my career for the last 25 years working with vulnerable children with a range of challenges. Presently I am the clinician in a therapeutic program that focuses on offering support, education, and counseling for…

Tracey Stoll & Monty

Hello, my name is Tracey Stoll. I am a licensed Special Educator and Certified Autism Specialist.  I am also the proud mother of 3 sons, two who are challenged with ASD and Anxiety. As the Founder/Executive Director of Learning Solutions, LLC (“LS” in Norwood, MA), I am committed to providing a safe, practice place for…

Tracey Williams & Cuba

My name is Tracey Williams and I’m an Intensive Special Education Teacher for Boston Public Schools. Several years ago I had three therapy dogs participate in a summer program for students with autism. The dogs came in twice a week and worked with children ages 3.9 to 5 years of age. The children increased their…

Tracy Cornell & Skye

Artist and photographer, independent and caring, these are the words I want to define me, not cancer and rheumatoid arthritis patient. My name is Tracy Cornell and since 2004 when diagnosed with my first battle with Ovarian cancer, to 2006 when the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) diagnosis was made, my life changed dramatically.

Tyler Konvent

Hey! My name is Tyler and I have Spina Bifida, which has had me wheelchair bound my entire life. Don’t think for a second I’ve let that slow me down, though. I’m an avid sled hockey player, and use my personal experience and disability to help children in similar situations learn to embrace who they…