Ears 4 Rachael: Hearing Dog Shelby

Overnight I suffered a profound, severe hearing loss at the age of eighteen.  Though it was going to take more than that, I thought, to derail my college plans and dreams of majoring in French and Theatre - off I went.  One semester later I found myself closer to home, and closer to Boston for medical treatments.  I tried every hearing device, medication, and had every test possible - nothing aided me.  No verdict was reached on how or why I lost my hearing.  I did not show signs of loss or illness, but it was just left that I suffered a virus of some sort.   In the beginning, doctors thought it was a one time loss, and not progressive.  Recently, it was determined that I had lost significantly more and likely will continue to progress at the same rate.  I likely will be deaf in my lifetime.  

Last year, after 11 years, I decided to FULLY accept and love myself for who I am.  I chose a theme for the year, instead of a resolution.  I chose the word: “Courage”.  

I took my courage to a whole new level and finally applied for a hearing dog, despite fear that it “wouldn’t work”.   I applied, I was accepted and I have just received Shelby, my little black lab hearing dog.  

God has blessed me with a great support system of friends and family, but there is nothing like the bond I feel to Shelby whom I just met.  She loves working with me, and being my side kick.  She alerts me to emergency sounds, alarms, knocking (to name a few) - things I cannot provide for myself.  Her love and affection are beyond what I could have asked for as I progressively lose more hearing.  I may not be an actress who speaks french fluently, but I do have an amazing co-star now.  I appreciate your thoughts and support as you consider sponsoring me.  Thank you to everyone for encouraging me to let my faith be bigger than my fears.  

NEADS service dogs for the hard of hearing and deaf cost around $25,000 and they ask each client to raise $9,500 through fundraising.

I have currently been blessed with $4,750 - but still need to raise the rest. 

I am hoping to raise the balance +$1,000 emergency fund for Shelby in the event that she has a medical emergency.  

GOAL: $5,750.

There is a place on the NEADS website to "Donate to a Client" if you want to donate directly to NEADS on my behalf.  They will be able to provide you with a Charity Tax Letter.  I will post the link as soon as my profile becomes active.

Thank you all so very much for your love and support.  Learn here what Shelby is able to do for me by watching a video and reading about NEADS: 



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Rachael Walker 
Lawrence, MA
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