After getting a formal press release put together, I have placed that on the front page here.Â The original text follows:
Help raise $13,000 in honor of Kender for a wonderful organization, 4 Paws for Ability.
Kender Hunt is an amazing 4-year-old boy who is blind and autistic. He was born with a very rare genetic condition called Familial Exudative Vitreo-Retinopathy (FEVR, pronounced "fever"), causing him to be born blind. He has undergone multiple surgeries on his eyes to try and make him comfortable and save what little sight he has left. His condition has also led to glaucoma and a blown pupil, which left him in pain for several years before the doctors figured out the problem. Kender is also autistic. This combined with the blindness and the pain just compounds his developmental hurdles. He is still learning to communicate, but is more likely to copy speech than to have a conversation. He doesn't respond to his name or to commands well, especially with strangers, and he doesn't understand boundaries. He tends to run off, and has gotten away from us several times when we were not at home. He doesn't understand about dangers, about busy streets and moving cars that he may not even see, or water.
4 Paws for Ability is the only agency that trains autism service dogs who did not consider Kender's blindness to disqualify him for a dog of his own. They will train a dog for him that will tether him when we are out, that will track him if he gets away from us again, and that will provide a physical and emotional anchor to aid in his development and security. Every dollar donated to this agency in Kender's name will equal a point towards qualifying for a dog. Once Kender has 13,000 points accumulated, 4 Paws will start training his new companion!
You can follow our progress at www.facebook.com/4paws4kender, where we will be posting photos and updates on our fundraising progress, and eventually introducing everyone to Kender's new service dog!
Kender is our wonder-child who brings a smile to everyone he meets. Please help him get his service dog!