My name is Chris. I used to be a high school English teacher. It was a job I loved and something I was very good at. Unfortunately, I had far too many interactions with students that have left me unable to work. I had students assault me, threaten me and my family. I was bit, punched, and kicked. Twice I had surgery to repair damage done to my knee from students. Two students promised to kill me. Eventually, I succumbed to the trauma I endured. Over Christmas break 2015, I broke. It almost killed me. I ended up unable to work and spending time in a voluntary day program at Shepherd Pratt psychiatric hospital. I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia, Severe Major Depression, and Severe Generalized Anxiety. I can no longer work, and have been forced to stop teaching. I cannot take care of my children. I struggle to leave the house most days. I have been in therapy for 18 months trying to get my life back on track, but it is not enough. I still have trouble with public places. I cannot go to the movies. I can't shop at malls. I have trouble going to events at my daughter's school, because simply being in a school building sends me into a panic spiral. I used to be a member of my church choir, but now I cannot even attend services because the number of people present sends me into a panic. My family and I are trying to raise money to get a service dog to help me transition back into public life. It's a huge financial investment that medical insurance does not cover, but we believe the positive impact it will have on my recovery is more significant. This dog can make an immeasurable impact on my recovery and the stability of my family. My children are 2 and 5. I want them to have their daddy back. I want them to have a normal dad who can be there for them. We are using Canines 4 Hope to train our service dog. Please visit their website: http://canines4hope.com Here is a video featuring the trainer and program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hu9a3GQ8PI&feature=share The training and the dog cost more than $13,000. We have to travel from Maryland to Florida for a week for me to learn how to work with the dog when he is ready, which will be in as little as 5 months. Between airfare, lodging, veterinary bills, and setting up our home, we expect another several thousand dollars in expenses. We are in a tough spot for money since I can no longer work. I cannot tell you how much each donation means to my family. Each gift is one step closer to making us whole again.
- Chris Giordano
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