Thursday, August 4, 2011

Autism Service Dog: Fundraiser

(Or, My Other Passion)

I promise this will be my only post on this subject, and I already feel uneasy doing ANY personal posts off the writerly/critiquerly topic, but this one is—well—way important to me. I'll try not to get all mushy.

As many of my earliest readers know, my 4-year-old son is autistic. He's a fantastic child and a true blessing in our lives, but he can't communicate. If he wanders off (as he so loves to do), he wouldn't be able to tell people his name. He's getting too big for strollers, doesn't like crowds, and craves heights (Yes, heights. Like, climbing. Oy.).

Luckily, he's been approved to receive an Autism Service Dog from a non-profit [501(c)(3)*] organization, 4 Paws for Ability. These service dogs are wonderful with autistic children both therapeutically—they are true friends, can calm down a child who is agitated, and will follow a child's verbal and non-verbal commands; and for safety reasons—they are trained to track children who wander off, and can be tethered to a child while walking through crowds or public places to avoid a lost-kid situation.


Because 4 Paws for Ability** is a non-profit organization, part of the deal for service dog placement is fundraising. Of the $22,000 it takes to train a service dog, each family is required to raise $13,000. I'm very lucky, because a have huge support from family and friends to help with the effort. We're planning a benefit event in the Chicago area on November 13th. Right now? We're looking for donation items to raffle or auction off.

BOOKS would be great for raffle/silent auction baskets. Especially signed books. Or gift cards, or anything that you've seen at past benefits. If you know of anyone with such a stash, please contact me (mkaley3 at gmail dot com).

Since some of my writerly/critiquerly friends who cannot attend this event have already asked, I've set up a website for tax-deductible charitable donations here, or you can join Drew's FaceBook group and donate there, but pleasepleaseplease don't feel obligated. I have a long way to go, and I'm sure we'll get there.

After all, I'd do anything for my Drew.

Thanks for reading.

Drew in a time out for climbling: he's really broken up about it.

* Tax ID for 4 Paws for Ability: 31-1625484
**4 Paws finds many of their dogs at local shelters, which I love.


Anita Grace Howard said...

Oh, Mary. He's SO BEAUTIFUL! :) what a wonderful cause! And I'm THRILLED you got him approved for the dog!

So, I might be able to get a couple of my crit pals to donate a few signed books. I have like six books I can throw in (that aren't signed) too; would those sell at all? Let me know.

Marybk said...

Thank you so much, Anita!!

Yes--like I said, ALL books are welcome. My family and friends are avid readers, and we're especially looking for kids/YA stuff for raffle/auction. :)


Anita Grace Howard said...

Yay! Well, I'll get over to your website this week for the the how's and where's. I do plan to tweet this, too, once my weekend haitus from twitter is over. :)

Bethany C. said...

My heart is swollen right now. What a love bug! I got a special-needs kiddo myself. So much involved with their care. A pooch like that will surely help :)

I don't think I have any "goldmine" books to contribute, but I'll put my thinking cap on and see what I can do. AWESOME post!!

Marybk said...

xoxo, Bethany!

Anita, I'll email you. :)

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