On Saturday, October 3, BluePath Service Dogs will host their fourth annual walkathon – this year virtually. The event, which begins with an online kick-off at 10:00am, will raise funds in support of BluePath’s mission to provide autism service dogs, offering safety, companionship and opportunities for independence.
As with many nonprofits, BluePath Service Dog’s mission continues despite the uncertain times. The virtual walkathon, which is open to all ages, will help ensure that the organization’s important work extends beyond the pandemic. Following the online kick-off, participants will head out to walk in their own communities and at their own pace – all while doing their part to support children with autism and their families.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every 54 children born today will develop an autism spectrum disorder. It is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States.
For the Rosenbaum family in Purchase, BluePath Autumn has helped their daughter Lindsay to lead a fuller life. The four-year-old Golden Retriever Lab cross not only keeps Lindsay safe, but also fosters meaningful social interactions, giving the Rosenbaums a renewed sense of hope and empowerment.
“Lindsay has a lot of anxiety when traveling, and Autumn calms her down and keeps her safe,” said Lindsay’s mom, Kim Rosenbaum. “When they’re together, people often come up and ask about her dog, providing nice opportunities for Lindsay to practice her communication skills. She also feeds and walks Autumn daily, which has helped her learn about responsibility. The love between the two is evident; BluePath Autumn has been the most wonderful addition to our family!”
Founded in 2016, BluePath has established a robust network of supporters throughout the country. Individuals and families serve as puppy raisers, fosters and administrative volunteers and comprise more than 95 percent of the organization’s workforce. The generosity of donors, volunteers and industry partners allows BluePath to provide its service dogs to families free of charge.
“We are all connected somehow to an individual with autism,” said Tricia Zarro, BluePath’s Board Chair. “Our family’s autism service dog has meant my son’s journey is full of more joy, more safety and more social experiences then I could have ever imagined. BluePath has made such a meaningful difference in our lives, and in the lives of so many others.”
“Elopement is a critical safety issue for individuals with autism,” noted BluePath President and CEO Jody Sandler.“Our service dogs act as an anchor for children who wander and dramatically reduce danger. This year our walkathon may look a little different, but it is every bit as essential. The need for our services doesn’t stop, and neither will we. I encourage all those interested in BluePath’s life-changing mission to get involved.”
Walkathon registration is $25 and includes a BluePath event t-shirt. To learn more or register, visit www.bluepathservicedogs.org/events. Sponsorship opportunities are also still available; for more information, contact Erica Stanzione at 914-804-4023 firstname.lastname@example.org.
BluePath Service Dogs, Inc. is located at 8 Country Club Road in Hopewell Junction. They can be reached at 845-377-0477 or by visiting www.bluepathservicedogs.org. For the latest news and updates, follow @BluePathServiceDogs on Facebook and @BluePathDogs on Instagram.