Sometimes as a parent of a special needs child it can feel like you are all alone in your battle to get your child the help and services they need.

My son has autism along with anxiety, PICA and OCD. It was recommended by multiple therapists that he would benefit from a service dog. We didn't know how we could ever afford a service dog or how we could wait as long as the lists for pre-trained dogs.

Thankfully the last month has shown us that we are not alone. Thanks to our wonderful case manager Jaci Schrag with Stairs, LLC we found many people and organizations willing to help.

We were gifted a goldendoodle puppy by Keith and Connie Schrag which started the ball rolling. The Newton Kiwanis Club, members of Newton Lions Club, members of Newton Rotary Club and The Wichita Community Foundation all donated to help us pay for the training that will be needed for Boone to become a service dog. Many other family and friends helped us also meet our goal to get us started with training.

The hard work of training has started and from the bottom of our heart we thank everyone for helping us make this possible!

— Annessa Russell, Newton