LANSING, Mich., Nov. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- When Janey Ladd, nurse case manager for Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, headquartered in Lansing, Mich., was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in her early 30s, she never would have guessed she would one day serve as the face of the annual fundraising campaign for Paws With A Cause®.
Ladd, and her PAWS® Service Dog, Colonel, are featured in the Paws With A Cause year-end annual fundraising campaign via a letter being sent out to approximately 55,000 households across the U.S.; a video featuring Ladd's story on the PAWS website (www.pawswithacause.org); and Ladd will be sharing her story in person with those in attendance at the "PAWS to Celebrate" annual fundraising dinner on November 21, 2013, at Frederik Mejier Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Mich.
At the time Ladd was diagnosed, she worked as a surgical nurse, with an active lifestyle that included owning a small farm where she kept horses. She was an avid skier and loved to ride her pink Harley Davidson. Gradually, Ladd's world began to change, as she stopped riding her Harley, as well as her horses, and eventually began walking with a cane. She vividly recalls the day her MS reached a true turning point. It was in 2006 when she was finishing up some holiday shopping at the mall. She was about to step off the sidewalk and cross the parking lot when she froze in place.
"That step from the curb petrified me," she said. "It looked like the Grand Canyon. I knew if I tried it, I would fall and wouldn't be able to get back up. I finally made it to my car, but my confidence was shaken to the core and I didn't know how to get it back."
That is when an acquaintance encouraged Ladd to request a PAWS Service Dog. She did her research, applied and was accepted as a client. It was love at first sight when she met Colonel, as smart, shaggy Golden Retriever, in 2008. Five years later, their partnership is stronger than ever. Colonel goes to the office with Ladd every day and she refers to him as her "confidence at the end of a leash."
"The things Colonel does for me are phenomenal," she said. "He pushes elevator buttons, picks up my cane or anything else I drop, keeps me steady when I am walking, and helps me up again if I fall. All the doors I use at work and home are outfitted with straps so Colonel can open them for me. He even pulls clothes baskets to the laundry room!"
Ladd will tell you; however, that the most valuable thing Colonel does for her isn't a physical task.
"Colonel is in my head and heart," Ladd said. "He knows if I am having a good or bad day. He is a treasure. With him at my side, I am not afraid to go out by myself. When you have a chronic illness or disability, you don't want to give up that one last thing you can do for yourself. MS took my confidence and independence and Colonel has let me reclaim both."
PAWS does not charge its clients to apply for, or receive, an Assistance Dog. The cost to cover breeding, care and custom-training of each PAWS Dog is $30,000. For more information about PAWS With A Cause, or the "PAWS to Celebrate" event, visit www.pawswithacause.org.
Accident Fund Holdings proudly supports Paws With A Cause by including them in its annual "Caring and Sharing" company-wide charitable giving campaign. For 2014, Accident Fund has pledged, through staff donations and company match, to donate $16,500 to Paws With A Cause. For more information about Accident Fund Holdings, Inc., visit www.afhi.com.
Accident Fund Holdings, Inc.
Accident Fund Holdings, Inc. (Lansing, Mich.) and its subsidiaries are one of the largest workers' compensation insurers and the largest non-governmental specialty writer of workers' compensation insurance in the United States. Accident Fund Holdings conducts business through its four brands: Accident Fund, United Heartland, CompWest and Third Coast Underwriters. Accident Fund Holdings' insurance company subsidiaries are rated "A-" (Excellent) by A.M. Best. Accident Fund Holdings is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
For more information, visit Accident Fund Holdings' website at www.afhi.com.
PAWS With a Cause®
PAWS With A Cause® enhances the independence and quality of life for people with disabilities nationally through custom-trained Assistance Dogs. PAWS® increases awareness of the rights and roles of Assistance Dog Teams through education and advocacy. PAWS® Assistance Dogs include Service, Autism, Hearing, Seizure Response and Combination Dogs. For more information, visit www.pawswithacause.org.
SOURCE Accident Fund Holdings