On Saturday, May 15, BluePath Service Dogs will host their fifth 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 Millman family, BluePath Clancy has helped their 14 year-old son Alex lead a safer, fuller life. Shortly after being paired with the yellow Lab, Alex ran from his car in a crowded parking lot. “Without being given a command, Clancy dropped down and stopped Alex as a car came speeding down the row,” explained his mom, Sandi Millman. “We are indebted to BluePath for keeping our son safe.”
Each BluePath dog comes with thousands of hours of training from dedicated volunteers and professional staff. While the cost to prepare these incredible dogs is upwards of $40,000, BluePath provides its service dogs – and intensive, ongoing follow up support – completely free of charge. Reduced stress, improved sleeping routines, and more meaningful social interactions can allow families to feel a renewed sense of hope and empowerment.
Millman continued, “Clancy is an amazing dog who helps our family go out and do all the things that families do, including our regular walks around the neighborhood. These are ordinary experiences, yet they would be impossible without an autism service dog by our sides. We are so very grateful for our ordinary days… for us, they are truly extraordinary.”
“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. The virtual walkathon may look a little different than in years past, but it is every bit as essential – and great family fun. We had an amazing turnout last year and look forward to another fantastic event. I encourage all those interested in BluePath’s life-changing mission to get involved.”
Walkathon registration, which includes a BluePath t-shirt, is $30 for the first participant and $20 for additional participants. 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 or 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.