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've had a progressive neuro-muscular disease sine 2007 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; as well as trying adaptive fencing, kayaking, handcycling, and wheelchair racing. I also remained at my job at Northern Arizona University.
I moved to Connecticut almost two years ago for a job opportunity as a Hall Director at UConn and to have the opportunity to continue playing sled hockey with the CT Wolfpack and the Women's National team. In January 2012, barely 6 months after moving to CT, I found myself in the hospital with paralysis from the shoulders down. After spending 12+ weeks in the hospital, a nursing home, and rehab hospital, I learned I had a herniated disc in my neck pushing on my spinal cord causing the new damage and paralysis.
Realizing my need for independence along with my want to remain living on my own and to return to my job at UConn, I decided to apply to the National Education for Assistance Dog Services (NEADS). I've missed almost 11 months of work combined over the past 2 years due to medical complications from the neck injury & flare-ups of my neuro-muscular disease. I have since re-learned how to feed & dress myself, push my wheelchair, drive a modified van, and much more through months of hard work.
While I may not be able to play sled hockey anymore, I am still active as possible and look forward to working with a service dog. A service dog will be my constant companion and allow me to "work smarter, not harder". The dog will be my hands and feet allowing me to remain independent and safe by picking up objects I drop, fetching my phone in emergencies, opening doors, and so much more. I am hoping to be matched with my service dog this coming fall (2013).
As part of a service dog commitment, I have been asked to help with fundraising efforts to defray the costs of the dog's specialized training. Each dog is trained to meet the specific requirements of his or her future owner. The cost to train a service dog exceeds $25,000, and the minimum I must raise is $9,500. Would you consider making a tax-deductible donation to help sponsor my new service dog (all donations will be submitted to NEADS)? All of your donation will go directly toward the care & training of my dog. Gifts of any size would be appreciated.
Check out www.neads.org to learn more about the organization I am working with to receive the dog. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
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