Help Cecil Williams & Orlando the Lab

Raised: $44,295.00
Goal: $50,000.00

Created by

Cecil Williams

Not Facebook Verified

Contact Embed

UPDATE: 12/20 (1800 EST) Supporters of Cecil and Orlando - I spoke to an attorney representing Cecil today and has asked to work out the transfer of funds shortly after the new year.... more


Updated posted by Cecil Williams 3 months ago

Folks - this should be my last note and I expect to transfer the account to Cecil today. Not sure if he'll use this or not but I want to thank you again for all or your incredibly generous support for both him and, of course, Orlando...who will be able to "retire" soon and spend a life of happiness with Cecil.


Updated posted by Cecil Williams 3 months ago

All - I have been working the details of transferring funds to Cecil Williams and we should finalize that in the next few days. I have received a notarized letter from his attorney, signed by Cecil so that I know the money will get to him. Thanks again for your support.


Updated posted by Cecil Williams 3 months ago

All -- Happy New Year. As I mentioned in my last updated, a lawyer representing Cecil contacted me before the holidays and asked that we hold off on transferring funds until he works out some details. I expect to hear from him early next week and will update you after that.

1 - 3 of 24 Updates
More Updates

Created by Cecil Williams on December 17, 2013

UPDATE: 12/20 (1800 EST)

Supporters of Cecil and Orlando - I spoke to an attorney representing Cecil today and has asked to work out the transfer of funds shortly after the new year. I realize it would be nice just to hand Cecil a check, but there are some complex regulations regarding gifts/monies provided to someone on disability. I do not want to do anything that will jeopardize his status and I am sure you would agree. I have asked the attorney for a letter too so that I can post for people to see. I will post that as soon as I receive something, but have patience (and I will too). So, if people still want to donate that is fine -- the funds here will go to Cecil, but as you may have seen in his press conference ( he says he has enough (note that there is over $100,000 between this site and indiegogo) and he'd like further donations to go to Guiding Eyes for the Blind - -- the team that trained Orlando. You can donate to them - in his honor if you desire - here:

Just so you are aware, a new service-dog can cost about $45,000 so think of it as paying it forward for Orlando's successor who will be with Cecil and Orlando next year. - Mark

As reported in the NY Daily News, Cecil Williams, 60, and his black Labrador retriever, Orlando, 11, fell onto the tracks from the A-train platform at 125th St — the faithful guide dog trying valiantly to save its master, who escaped with minor injuries. Orlando is 11 so he has to retire from service. Insurance companies will not pay for a "non-working dog" and for Cecil to keep Orlando on top of another service dog is too costly at this time. Cecil said he'd keep him if he had the money otherwise he needs to find a family to adopt an 11 year old dog, which is hard. Let's help him out and get him some funds to pay his expenses to take care of Orlando.

While I do not know Mr. Williams I was very moved by this story and want to make sure that he can take care of Orlando the way such a hero deserves. My intent is to provide the funds raised here directly to Cecil Williams and I'm working through the media reporters to reach him. I will post updates as I have them.
Will continue to raise money even beyond the goal and I've spoken to Guiding Eyes for the Blind the 501c3 that provided Orlando to Cecil and trains service dogs like Orlando. Will work with them to ensure that funds can be used without negatively impacting Mr. Williams disability status.

Read more:

About me: I live in Washington DC and am a Senior Fellow at The German Marshall Fund of the United States ( I've worked on Capitol Hill and at the U.S. Department of Defense (Pentagon) and served in Afghanistan both in uniform (U.S. Navy) and as a diplomat. You can read more about my work here though it isn't nearly as moving as the stories about Cecil and Orlando !

Have Questions? Contact the organizer of this campaign now:


Use Facebook to Leave a Comment

Nothing gets posted to your wall. Only your Facebook name & photo are used.

Hi Mark, I noticed your last post was from December. Did Cecil ever receive the money that was donated to this site/account? Thank you, Rosalie

posted by Rosalie Azzato 2 months ago

Mark: thank you for your efforts, your transparency and your updates. I am proud to have been a (very small) part of this wonderful support. If anyone said anything negative, let it melt away into oblivion. You put yourself out there and took on a lot because two fortuitous strangers touched your heart - and ours. THANK. YOU.

posted by Marlo Lupulio 3 months ago

I'm all for this man keeping his dog but can someone please explain to me why he needs 50,000 to do so? I have 5 dogs and I can't imagine what I could spend that much on any of them for , in fact I can't imagine spending that much on all of them. I mean the question genuinely, not to be antagonistic

posted by Coleen Nims 3 months ago

It is truly wonderful how many came to aid this man and his dog. I certainly hope he is able to receive the gifts given without losing his disability benefits. Otherwise, this was not be the gift it was intended. No one, state, gov., atty. or otherwise should be able to "tax" or levy any bit of this gift ... all have already paid taxes before it was "gifted." It is absurd that one can hardly give a gift in full, so to speak. Hoping for the best for Cecil and Orlando.

posted by Lisa Cross 3 months ago

I commend your great effort. These two should be together forever! Here's another $500 towards today' goal. Cynthia Biestek

posted by Cynthia Biestek 4 months ago

thank you for making this world more beautiful with your kindness!

posted by Joyce Tan 4 months ago

Dana-kudos to you for speaking up about Mark. What Mark has done for Cecil and Orlando is terrific & whatever the outcome, I feel he's got Cecils best interests at heart. I wish someone could do this for my husband who's dealing w/the aftermath of 18 months of chemo for melanoma. Jim & I are so touched by what Mark's done & by Cecils predicament we're going to donate. I wish it could be more but it's best we can do right now. I hope you or Mark will keep everyone updated and let us know that Cecil is okay. God needs all the angels He can get in these days & times where many folks don't really care to be their brother's keeper. God bless you & yours this Christmas season.

posted by Jim N Chris Woods 4 months ago

You are an angel Mark, for helping Cecil and Orlando. Thank you very much for all that you have done and for everyone who donated. So glad Cecil and Orlando will be together forever.

posted by Jean Wentworth 4 months ago

Thank you so much Mark for putting this effort together to help Cecil keep his dog! You and Orlando are my heroes!

posted by Diane Blake 4 months ago

I am glad I was able to donate $5 to this. It is good to be made aware yet again of the generosity we humans are capable of. Many blessings to Cecil and Orlando and his next dog.

posted by Mary Mckinnon 4 months ago

I was so moved,not only about this story but about all the kind hearted people that cared and tryed to help out. It makes me feel like people still care about one another.

posted by Jessica Cunningham 4 months ago

Just want to make sure, I did donate to this cause on indiegogo. Was there also an indiegogo page?

posted by Kristen Lee 4 months ago

The bound that Cecil and Orlando have created over the years should not be broken. As a dog owner, our dogs age, and we adapt to their senior needs. We have owned working dogs and as they age their eye sight decreases, hearing decreases and mobility decreases. It's called aging. We don't rehome them because they aren't as efficient. The happiest place for my dog is by my side as part of the family. Working dogs do well after retirement - can we say police dogs placed into the home of the handler after retirement . It would be a travesty to separate owner and dog because of age.

posted by Diana Orr 4 months ago

This is such a heartwarming site - to see all of the good folks who donated to the cause. I would like to believe the that best interest of Orlando would be rehomed for his senior years much like police dogs that retire. Cecil will be needing a new younger guide dog once Orlando is in his last furever home - his job is done and he should be able to retire comfortably. As for the oodles of money being donated...wouldn't it just be "ducky" (excuse the animal pun) to be able to filter it towards Orlando's retirement care and the Guiding Eyes for the Blind - for surly the amount of funds needed to train a guide dog is fairly significant - and the funds raised here could surly help another or others with a service dog. Clearly the outpouring of generosity can be shared with not only Cecil and Orlando but for others also. Merry Christmas and God Bless!

posted by Donna Martin 4 months ago

With the amount of money I have seen received so far between a couple of different fundraising sites, as of this moment the 4 I know about the total is $84,478, which changes every minute. This doesn't include the private donor, the pet food company offering food for a year and other offers. Besides taking care of Orlando's vet bills as he gets older and his dietary needs, the money raised can be put in a trust, which could provide for a person to help with Orlando as he gets older and might not be able to get around as well. For those concerned about Orlando when the new guide dog comes in, Orlando could go to doggy daycare whenever Mr. Williams needs to go out with the new dog. This would keep Orlando engaged in something and also give him his retirement. Some people have said that it would be better for him to go to a new home, but how would you feel if you were taken from the person you have been with daily for over 8 years? The dog in my picture was named Wrangler. I purchased him on Christmas Eve when he was 8 weeks old and he was with me every day until he passed away in my arms 1 month shy of 8 years old from the vet giving him the wrong pills, which shut down his kidneys. He would not have done well in a new home, losing all that was familiar to him after so many years.

posted by Krystal Phillips 4 months ago

I think we will all learn something positive from this experience. After much thought I realize that Orlando's needs must be considered. It was mentioned that he may have trouble switching off after he's retired and seeing Cecil leave with a new dog may be very difficult for him to understand. It didn't occur to me until I realized how ingrained Orlando is doing his companion work for Cecil. Thank you all for the discussion and I know with the monies collected, the best decision for everyone can be reached. This is a wonderful story for the season.

posted by Deb Durham 4 months ago

Wed 18/12/13 22:25 GMT Mark Jacobson, Further to your fundraising page message today Wed 18/12/13: - "Lori - do you know how to get in touch with Grant? I've reached out to him and had no response - am concerned about the SSD situation too." Grant Kirsch, who set up the following fundraising page (for donations to help Cecil Williams afford to keep his guide dog Orlando), can be contacted via the following: - ects/help-cecil-williams-keep- his-seeing-eye-dog-orlando "UPDATE: We are getting a lot of traction and have had MULTIPLE interviews this morning with the national press. Keep the support up please! and make sure to tweet about this: "Help keep Cecil and Orlando together! do SaveOrlando @grantkirsh" MEDIA: Please call my office and have them connect you to my cell" * * /Contact.shtml 'Contact' "At the law firm of Kirsh & Kirsh, P.C., in Indianapolis ..." "Our lawyers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to assist you. You can reach us by phone at 317-575-5555, toll free at 866-469-9200 and via email to schedule an appointment. To send us an email, please complete and submit the online form below." Regards Sandra Montisci London, UK

posted by Sandra Montisci 4 months ago

In full disclosure I'm the organizer's sister but want you to know he's been working tirelessly to help someone he doesn't know because he is that good of a person. On a basic level we're "dog people" and we were raised to help others if we can. That being said I think it's important that whatever Cecil wants to do is what's followed. If he feels the money is best used to keep and care for Orlando, great. If he feels Orlando would be happier with the family that raised/trained him first, great. If he wants money to go to the organization that brought Orlando to him and so many others in need, great. Remember this is one person with one story and if Cecil wants to reach out to help even more that speaks to his character. This has to be overwhelming to him. It is probably why he's asking an organization he trusts to deal with the generosity that he's being shown. We all started off wanting to help one man and one dog, imagine if we can help two or five or ten. That's the idea of giving. I just know that I trust Mark. It's why I gave my money. It's why I posted to my social media accounts. Seeing all the kindness of strangers here and on other sights, if that's not the spirit of the season, not sure what is.

posted by Dana Jacobson 4 months ago

You should to to help from a Special Needs Trust program like ACHIEVA Family Trust to protect Cecil's SSD but also allowing for funds collected from sites like this to help Cecil and Orlando

posted by Dave Tinker 4 months ago

We need to face one cold truth, Orlando is already quite old dog, in dogs years. Soon he will need some senior dog care himself, and blind owner will not be able to provide care for him. Also, when working dog retires (same as human), their life changes dramatically and someone needs to find the way to engage the dog, so he finds another purpose....... so the dog will have happy senior years. Nobody is suited for it better than organization that trained assisting guide dog. This is very emotional story, but set your emotions aside and think what is best for the dog. Whatever final decision is - I hope Mr. Cecil and Orlando have wonderful happy life after this scary episode.

posted by Vera Hamann 4 months ago

1 - 20 of 49 Comments
More Comments

Recent Donations (1,368)

$44,295 raised by 1,368 people in 4 months.



1 day ago (Monthly Donation)



patricia higgins

24 days ago (Monthly Donation)




1 month ago (Monthly Donation)



patricia higgins

1 month ago (Monthly Donation)



Norma Dailey

1 month ago (Monthly Donation)




2 months ago (Monthly Donation)



patricia higgins

2 months ago (Monthly Donation)



Norma Dailey

3 months ago (Monthly Donation)




3 months ago (Monthly Donation)




3 months ago


1-10 of 1368 donations


Bring your fundraising ideas to life with an online donation website from GoFundMe!

© 2010-2014 GoFundMe