​First Quarter Impact:

For the ​​​​first quarter of 201​7, FT Cares Foundation impacted ​26 organizations totaling $​​​​72,436.05.

Impact April 2016: Service / Therapy Animals

$2,000 was given to The National Education for Assistance Dog Services, Inc. (NEADS) which provides independence to people who are deaf or have a disability through the use of canine assistance. The Foundation was honored to help Thomas Ketcham raise funds for his service dog Diesel. In addition, our sponsored dog, Trusty, is due to graduate from the program in the fall of this year!

Thomas and Diesel April Impact

Tom was diagnosed with MS in October of 1999. He was only 29 at the time of his diagnosis and was working in a private group home as a counselor helping to take care of the developmentally disabled. Tom was having vision problems, seeing double and not really seeing out of his left eye. His neurologist quickly diagnosed him with MS and began aggressively treating him with a five course of high-dosed IV steroids. His vision improved but never came back 100%. For the next couple of years, Tom had a few minor MS related problems but was stable and continued to work. He was in the field working his way up to a supervisory position until 2012 when he had a bad flare up and started having some balance problems and right side weakness. Tom was unable to return to work and had to go on permanent disability.  The toughest part of being on disability, Tom said, was that the tables were now turned: he was so used to helping others. It was very difficult for him to ask for help.  He now wears a brace on his right leg and while he is getting around better, he is still very slow at times and MS fatigue plays a major factor in his life. He explained: “Sometimes I feel good but then I could be going along and it’s like I hit a brick wall. The fatigue kicks in and makes my right side worse, and I will be off some.”

After talking to his doctor about service dogs, Tom felt that he could really benefit from having a dog. That is when NEADS stepped in and Tom was paired up with Diesel. According to Tom, having Diesel enables him to have the confidence to go out into the community and  Diesel gives him reassurance if he loses his balance. Diesel also helps open doors, carry smaller items in a backpack such as water bottles and pick up dropped items, helping Tom to save his much needed energy.

Here is what Tom had to say in gratitude after receiving the donation from FT Cares:

“I just want to personally thank you all who donated funds to help pay for my service dog Diesel. I love him. He is really working out great with me. He has adjusted well at home now and gets along with his new brother Zack (he is my pet Golden retriever and is almost 11 now). They both love to play.Thank you for helping me pay for Diesel.”

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Trusty has been matched with Skyler, from Pepperell, MA, as a Social Dog!

 Trusty!     

The National Education for Assistance Dog Services, Inc. (NEADS) are matched with children on the autism spectrum or with developmental delays.  These highly trained dogs serve as assistants and companions to children who have challenges with social interaction.  Social Dogs help to open the doors of communication, and help children deal with transitions.

Skyler and Social Dog Trusty had their facility based training from February 22 through March 1, 2016.  During facility based training, Skyler and a parent, who is a facilitator, learned how to work with their new Social Dog under the supervision of a NEADS trainer.

Skyler and Trusty are candidates for the fall 2016 NEADS graduation. 

April 201​7 donations will be posted when available; below are the ​​April 2016 Impact donations so you can see the organizations the Foundation has previously impacted.

The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation trains Canine-Firefighter Disaster Search Teams to search for people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters. $2,000 was granted to help fund this important work.

$2,000 was given to (NEADS) which provides independence to people who are deaf or have a disability through the use of canine assistance. Our sponsored dog, Trusty, is due to graduate from the program in the fall of this year!

$1,000 was granted to Ready Set Ride, a therapeutic recreation facility that utilizes horses and individualized activities to assist children in the community. This grant will provide horse shoes for two horses for one year.

$1,000 was granted to Radigan’s Place to sponsor a child’s therapy session, which draws upon the behavior of horses as an integral part of the treatment.

$1,000 was granted to Austin Dog Alliance’s Hounds for Heroes program which provides a highly-trained psychiatric service dog at low- or no-cost to service men and women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder in order to improve their quality of life.

The Foundation made an Extra Difference this month by donating $2500 to the Jeffrey Gottfurcht Children’s Arthritis Foundation. The foundation is a wish-granting organization whose mission is to make dreams a reality for children living with juvenile arthritis.  

A magnitude 7.8 quake struck Equador on Saturday April 16, killing hundreds of people, injuring more than 7,000 and leaving thousands in shelters and many more sleeping outside. An Extra Difference of $1500 was made to Americares in support of their emergency teams on the ground helping in the relief effort, assessing damage to health facilities and working with local partners.

The Foundation was also proud to help two employees make an Extra Difference this month.  $200 was donated to the International Rett Syndrome Foundation in support of Renee Lorek’s Rett’s Walk and $200 was donated to the National MS Society in support of Erik Jackson’s Walk MS.