by | Apr 9, 2024 | Recipient Posts | 2 comments

I am currently on the Placement List for a Seizure Alert and Response dog. I have been living with uncontrolled epilepsy for over thirty years. Epilepsy has stolen a lot from me; my dreams, my independence, and my confidence. After I was accepted as a Little Angels Service Dogs recipient and found out how a service dog could help me and my family, I was elated. However, shortly after I submitted my contract and deposit, the reality of fundraising for my service dog sunk in. The amount that I needed to fundraise was intimidating, and at first, I didn’t know where to start.

I sent out some emails and made a JustGiving page. I shared my fundraiser on social media about once a week for the first few months.

Thanks to an amazing group of generous initial donors it was relatively easy to raise the initial amount in the first few months.

Later, I started meeting with LASDs Fundraising Director every month. It was so helpful to meet with her because she helped me understand the process more thoroughly.

I don’t think my experience is unique in that family and friends were suspicious of the process because they thought that as soon as I met my initial fundraising goal, I’d instantly get a dog! When I understood the process better, I was able to explain it more clearly to donors.

I continued the JustGiving fundraiser, and my niece held a lemonade stand. I had a bake sale, sent out emails, and, being a musician, I  started planning a benefit concert event. Thanks to the generosity of early donors, I reached my initial fundraising goal quickly and kept fundraising. After several months, I was sort of stuck at 43% of completely funding my service dog. I started to get frustrated. I turned to the Fundraising Director for encouragement and ideas. . . She suggested re-writing my JustGiving story, adding a couple of different pictures. I took her advice and started sharing my JustGiving page on social media 2-3 times a day. One June morning, just minutes after I posted, I was messaged by a dear old friend:

“I bet you can get to 50% today!”

I laughed out loud at that idea! After catching up a bit, this beautiful anonymous friend offered to match all donations for the rest of the day. I was floored! I made a lot of social media posts over the rest of the day, which were shared, and re-shared! The closest I’ve ever come to going viral.. . . Donations poured in.

This experience was so humbling for me. Accepting these gifts, a huge communal outpouring of love, was overwhelming. By the end of that day, I was over 65% funded for the total cost of my service dog; my friend then offered to extend the match one more day; I was so moved. I couldn’t believe it. By the end of the next day, I was about 80% funded.

From that day in June to mid-October, it continued. Support from friends, and strangers, all across the globe. I was honored to use my gift of music to play a benefit concert for Little Angels Service Dogs with friends. It felt wonderful to give back music as an expression of how grateful I am.

The final donations were made by people very special to me and by my church. I was even gifted some extra funds earmarked to save up for the travel and lodging during Handler Training.

I felt like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” at the end when the whole town comes together to give him a priceless gift: the knowledge that no man is a failure who has friends. So many days in this fundraising process I was moved to tears.

It’s so easy for me to get discouraged because of my epilepsy, to let all the decades of disappointments and trials and intense suffering get to me. The gift of a Seizure Alert and Response Dog is going to be a life changer in so many ways. My hope is that it will allow me to be more independent so that I can reach out to my community more in many little ways and that the blessing that I will receive will touch many, many other lives.

All the best, and thank you for all your work 🙂

2 Comments

  1. Beth Savard

    Sending you hugs as you wait for your seizure alert response dog. understand the questions or skepticism from friends and donors. Knowing the full process makes it easier. I am also in placement list and the wait is hard. Waiting for the independence a service dog can give me. 🤗

    Reply
  2. Christina Rezek

    Fundraising can be daunting. With the help of friends and family it definitely helps. So glad you are on your way to getting your little Angel.

    Reply

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