On Saturday, May 14, BluePath Service Dogs will host their sixth annual walkathon at FDR State Park in Yorktown Heights. The family-friendly fundraiser, held from 10:00am to 1:00pm, will raise funds in support of BluePath's mission to provide autism service dogs, offering safety, companionship, and opportunities for independence.
The walkathon is open to all ages and begins in Lot 4 of FDR State Park. Walkers can choose between a 1.7-mile or 3-mile loop and will have access to food, games, and all-day fun – rain or shine. Friendly dogs are welcome on leashes 6' or shorter. Attendees can also meet BluePath dogs and learn more about how the nonprofit is creating a better world for children with autism.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every 44 children born today will develop an autism spectrum disorder. It is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States.
For the Petersen family in Newtown, BluePath Reba has helped five-year-old Wesley lead a safer, fuller life.
“Wesley received his autism diagnosis just before turning two,” explained his mom, Kate Petersen. “The first couple years were an extreme challenge. Wesley’s lack of communication left us all frustrated to the point of tears several times a day. He had extreme reactions to loud, sudden noises. A cough, sneeze or even laugh left him dysregulated, sobbing, or in full meltdown, and sometimes it could last for hours.”
When Wesley turned abruptly on a familiar walk last October and ran into the road directly in front of a car – nearly being hit, the Petersens knew they needed immediate assistance.
"That’s where BluePath Reba came in,” shared Kate. “She is the epitome of tiny but mighty. She is sweet and soulful and intuitive. All business when she is working and a dedicated party girl in her off hours. Right now she is bringing me such incredible hope for the future. That we will be able to enjoy a walk on a beautiful day without fear or tragedy. That Wesley can enjoy his favorite things with the grounding presence of his service dog. That we can finally spend time as a family out in the world, experiencing all life has to offer with this beautiful little dog at Wesley’s side.”
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.
BluePath’s sixth annual walkathon has gained major support from the following sponsors:
Presenting: The Neva and Howard Goldstein Family Charitable Fund, Team Michelangelo
Platinum: Croton Lions Club, The Goldfarb Makkar and Brown Family
Gold: Amalgamated Transit Union Local 726, Amalgamated Transit Union 726 Family Fund, AvalonBay Communities, Elite Carriers, PCSB Bank, Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, Quinn Law Firm, Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees, Inc., Team Ali Fairhurst
Silver: Animal Specialty Center, Bedford Hills Lions Club, Bedford PBA, The Bugeya Family, City of Rye Police Association, Cruze and the Frango Family, C.W.A. Local 1180, G.S. Bounce, Guardian Veterinary Specialists, Kolmar Americas Inc., Lions Club of Yorktown, Mesa’s Marrathoners, NYS Court Officers Association, Peekskill Rotary Club, Shrub Oak International School, Volz Auto Group, When Chaos Strikes
“After two years of fundraising virtually, we are beyond excited to welcome supporters back in person for an unforgettable day of fun, laughter and camaraderie,” said BluePath co-founder and Vice President of Development, Michelle Brier. “Last year, hundreds of walkers from across 15 states raised more than $120,000 to further our mission. We look forward to building on that momentum and encourage all those interested in BluePath’s life-changing work to get involved.”
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.
About BluePath Service Dogs, Inc.
BluePath Service Dogs, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2016 to provide autism service dogs, offering safety, companionship, and opportunities for independence. The organization transforms lives by providing families with expanded opportunities to unlock life’s potential. BluePath receives no government funding and relies on the generosity of donors and volunteers to fulfill its mission. For more information, visit www.bluepathservicedogs.org. Follow BluePath on Facebook at www.facebook.org/bluepathservicedogs.