September is my 60th Birthday month! Woot! Woot! It’s a very big deal to me! And here is why:
I usually do something major for each decade Birthday. In the past it’s been something physical, challenging and scary that I haven’t done before. For my 50th I went zip lining at Grouse Mountain. That was back when I was still getting around quite well with my walker. Which made it possible to hike all the way back up the mountain with our group. It felt pretty darn exhilarating—my competitive side wants you to know I rocked it all the way back up, leading the pack! 💪🏿
This year I’m not picking something physical. There is still fear involved, but I’m choosing passion instead. I’m championing a fundraiser for Pacific Assistance Dogs Society, aka (PADS). The scary part is setting a crazy goal ($1500) and asking you to consider giving your hard-earned money to my favourite charity.
A little history before I share about PADS. I was formally diagnosed with the neuromuscular disease, Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia, (HSP), back in 1996, 22 years ago. It’s considered a slowly progressive disease. I started out needing to use a cane, now I’ve progressed to a wheelchair. It’s a very rare disease that I inherited from my Mother, who also lived with HSP. HSP was never talked about in our house, I was the only child out of 3 to inherit the disease, and it’s been lonely in a way I cannot describe.
My Mom died in her late 50’s. She never saw 60 and was no longer around once my HSP started. When HSP reared its head in my life, the vision I had for my future ended. My Mom’s life was likely what was in store for me. At first, like a whisper in the back of my mind….then ticking, knocking…heck, a blow horn as I approached my late 50’s: Would I pass early like she did? As I approach my 60th Birthday, I am celebrating the fact that that blow horn may finally fade.
Back to PADS
It has become my passion. About 5 years ago I started noticing PADS Service Dogs—that I’d always been drawn to—in a whole new way. Everything had gotten difficult for me to do on my own. Outings and errands stopped being enjoyable, they just left me sore and drained. I was in my chair at the grocery store one day and noticed a woman in a wheelchair with a PADS Service Dog. It really hit me at that moment that I could use that kind of help. I was never the type to seek help, but I knew that I was feeling overwhelmed facing HSP on my own. Depression comes along with this type of continuing physical deterioration and it was definitely impacting me.
I immediately started researching all about PADS to see if I was even eligible for a service dog. Because I’m so independent, I tend to think that I shouldn’t need help. What if PADS felt the same? But once I’d gathered all the information I needed, I put in an application to PADS.
After the application and interview, I was accepted onto the waitlist for a Service Dog July 6, 2015. Shortly after that, the wait list for Service Dogs closed – I was told PADS was financially unable to keep up with the demand until further notice. I had just made it in! I knew even with this good news, it could be 3 or 4 years. I was ready right then and worried how much my condition would change by the time I got a dog.
In the over 3 years since I was added to the wait list, it’s been emotionally trying at times to stay positive, but I have been blessed to meet so many of the wonderful PADS family – volunteers and staff. I’ve found my passion again and a purpose. bringing as much attention and much-needed funds to PADS as I can. PADS is a not for profit society that depends on donations to continue its amazing work. I can help them reopen that wait list… and reduce that 3 to 4-year wait list.
Such joy comes from raising and donating money, my used mobility equipment for their training center even sponsoring a puppy (I’d probably stand on my head if I could do that too!)!
When Tara Doherty, PADS’ Communication Manager asked me what it would mean to me to get a PADS Service Dog, this was my answer:
I set my outrageous goal of raising $1500.00 to sponsor a PADS Puppy for the first year of their life… So let’s blow the ears up, and make a real difference for PADS this month!
I’m honoured that you read this far, as I am sharing a part of my heart. If you are unable to donate I totally understand!
Much love, Sara xo
Way to go Sara. We are all so proud of you and this amazing campaign!
-Lauren, the Goats, Cats & the Dog XOXO
Happy birthday friend! What a fantastic way to celebrate!
Happy Birthday and best of luck in your search for the perfect companion.
-Don and Karl Calancie
Hi Sara, Everyone at K9 Gentle Dental hopes you have a fabulous birthday! We hope you surpass your goal and that all your wishes come true on your special day. We’re looking forward to seeing you again!
-Robin & the team at K9 Gentle Dental
Happy 60th Sara.
Love from Patty and Mike
You are very inspirational- Happy Birthday Sara! ❤❤
Happy Birthday Sara! You are a beautiful, kind and generous person and an inspiration to others. Wishing you a fabulous birthday and may your heart’s desire come true very soon!
Love & hugs, Joann, David & Jennifer
Happy birthday, Sara! It’s been great getting to know you. This is a wonderful project.
Good luck from Ann and Mark!
Happy Birthday beautiful Sara. Ok the flooring in the toddler picture of you looks vaguely familiar- was that 1973 VV Drive house?
Happy Birthday to an amazing woman. Sara you are simply the best!!!
Happy 60th Birthday Sara!
Hoping you get an assistance dog soon.
Love, Elaine & Katherine
Happy Birthday month!!!! 😘
Karrie & Paul Grewal
Happy Birthday, lovely Lady!
Hope you get a PADS doggo soon!
Happy Birthday Sara – Here’s to being passionate about a goal and setting out to achieve it!
My Mum volunteered with PADS while she was alive and made great friends. Best of luck!
Sending you lots of 💕 Happy Birthday Sara
Marion and Greg Nelson
Happiest of Birthdays Sara xo
Happy 60th Birthday, Sara. What a wonderful thing to do to celebrate such a special event this way….with our love and congratulations!
Jacqui and John Smart
Wishing you a very Happy 60th Birthday, Sara!!! What a wonderful idea this is!
PADS Brite and I wish you a very happy 60th birthday and join you in your wishes that many, many, many PADS puppies get out there and change the lives of those who need them. A big slobbery kiss from Brite and a hug from me!
HapPpPPY BiRThDaY SaRa! Rowan wanted to send you a Birthday donation!!! Wishing you a fun and silly and fabulous 60th year ahead! And we all hope you get the PADS phone call for a service dog for yourself one day soon! <3
Sara, I love you, and I love what you’re doing here. Wishing you a joyful birthday… and to surpass your $1,500 goal!
🐾 Happy Birthday Dear Sara 🐾
Hugs and puppy kisses from Bowyer and me!
RAISED TO DATE: $3380