Humans of BluePath: Nancy Flaherty, Walk Committee

Nancy lives in Peekskill with her husband, Mike, and children Kaitlin (21), Megan (17), and Sean (11). Kaitlin has autism and her life was transformed when she received her best friend, BluePath service dog Chester. Nancy explains that volunteering for the Walkathon Committee is her way of giving back to an organization that has brought so many gifts to her family.

“I recruit sponsors and donors to raise awareness and funds for the Walkathon, Nancy shares.” “We also put together ‘Team Kaitlin and Chester,’ and Kaitlin helps fundraise too.”

How it all began:

“I have been involved since the inception of BluePath. I was invited to join the Walkathon Committee and raise money for this wonderful organization so that I could help other children like Kaitlin have these amazing service dogs that provide independence, companionship, socialization skills, and most importantly for us, safety.

“I wanted to be a part of a culture and organization that really cares about people with autism and their families. It’s a magnificent concept and all the puppy raisers, trainers, and volunteers are terrific people uniting for this cause.”

“BluePath Chester gives us the gift of normalcy and the ability for our family to enjoy life a little more. The peace of mind that a parent has when their child is tethered to their service dog is priceless; it means that I don’t have to worry that Kaitlin is going to run into traffic or wander away.”

Kaitlin recently had a breakthrough with Spelling to Communicate, where she utilizes a letter board to form sentences. For the first time in her 21 years, Kaitlin is able to express her thoughts and feelings to her family and friends. She sent us the following letter:

Dear BluePath:

Chester means more to me than I can say. He is my friend, my teacher, and my confidante. He helps me to stay calm and has taught me to never stop trying. Life is so hard when you have autism. He makes it a bit easier. I intend to write my memoirs some day and Chester will star in the book. Thank you for my dog!

Love, Kaitlin

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