NEADS Needs Your Support to Train Service Dogs

By Sarah Best, Abilities Expo Ambassador

Hi there! My name is Sarah and the 4-legged furry guy that you see? His name is Edison and he is my service dog.

Together, he and I are on a mission. We are rolling 7 miles by the end of this week as part of the Falmouth Road Race at-home edition. Rather, I am rolling and he is walking. It is my hope (and it's already happening) that our physical efforts will result in raising money to help NEADS to continue the amazing work that they do training and placing service dogs with people who need them. NEADS is a nonprofit organization based in central Massachusetts.

Abilities Expo ambassador urges community to help train service dogs

Training a dog for service work can take up to two years and the can involve teaching them to learn dozens of commands and tasks to help people through the day. NEADS trains service dogs for various different disabilities and professional settings. Edison and I have been a team for just about 4 years and to say that having him has been incredible is a huge understatement.

I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP) at the age of two. CP is a neurological condition which, in my case, was caused by lack of oxygen to parts of my brain during and shortly after birth. The lack of oxygen caused damage to the parts of my brain that are responsible for sending signals to my body to control muscle movement, balance and coordination.

Sarah and Edison

What can he do for me, you may wonder? He knows about 60 commands and tasks to help me through my day and mitigate the challenges of my physical disability. He can retrieve items from the floor, press the automatic door opener button, bark only on command when I need help and so much more! All to assist me in my daily life so that I can continue to be as independent and self-sufficient as possible. 

I try hard to not let challenges hold me back. I like to travel, meet people and go on adventures. Before the COVID pandemic arose, you would definitely see Edison accompanying me on all modes of transportation to go visit friends, travel for work or just for fun. Having him by my side has increased my independence exponentially. I no longer have to worry about feeling stuck or nervous if no one is around to help me.

He is always by my side, willing and ready to help. Rain or shine, day or night. We are a team.

Will you walk and/or roll beside us to help support NEADS? Your donation, no matter how big or small, would be so greatly appreciated. 100% of all the funds raised will go directly to NEADS. The deadline for contributions is October 31, 2020.

Follow our adventures on Instagram @edison_365_sd. We would love to connect with you!

Sarah and Edison

About the Author:

A native New Yorker with Cerebral Palsy, Sarah is determined and driven to go places and do things that she is passionate about. She works as a social media consultant, including for companies that serve the disability community. She currently serves as an ambassador for Abilities Expo and truly appreciates the strong sense of community that it creates.

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