ST. JAMES, N.Y. — A disabled teenager has started a funding campaign to provide wounded and blind veterans with service dogs. Thirteen-year-old Matthew Redlein, who is partially blind himself, was inspired to make a difference after seeing the struggles that veterans are often faced with. Redlein lost part of his own vision due to a hereditary condition, which also claimed the eyesight of his brother.
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Through the campaign, the teenager is hoping to raise enough money to sponsor multiple service dogs. The cost of acquiring and training a single service dog is roughly $6000. To-date, the majority of the fundraising has been conducted at Redlein’s school, at Nesaquake Middle School. As a means to get donations, he has been selling rubber bracelets and lollipops. In order to aid fundraising, the America’s Vet Dogs and Guide Dog Foundation also arranged for a show-and-tell with a few of the service dogs, so that Redleins peers could see how their money would be spent.
Fred Fernandez, a volunteer at the middle school says that it has been amazing to see how much the kids are getting involved. So much so, that Redleins original goal of $6,000 was increased to $50,000. The fundraising efforts of this tenacious teenage boy have so far raised over $30,000! Take a look at Redlein’s fundraising website here.