Comedy Show to help bring service dog to York family
Portsmouth Herald - 10/11/2017
YORK - A night of comedy will bring a York family one step closer to the funds needed for an autism service dog for their six year old son.
Jackson's Totally Awesome Comedy Show will be held Friday, Oct. 13 in the Yorkshire Ballroom at the York Harbor Inn. The evening will feature Boston, Massachusetts-area comedians, a raffle, food courtesy of the York Harbor Inn, and more.
All proceeds from the evening will go to Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers to help the Silva family raise funds for an autism service dog for their son, Jackson. The organization trains service dogs for a number of disabilities, including diabetes, autism, seizure response, and post traumatic stress disorder. It costs the organization $50,000 to train one dog and families are asked to pledge half of that.
Greg and Christa Silva said the extra companionship, protection, and safety of an autism service dog would be priceless for their family. Jackson is nonverbal and has severe autism. The Silva's say one of the biggest fears they have with their son is elopement.
"Any chance Jack can get he will try to wander. He has left our house a handful of times and twice he has gotten as far as the main road. We have alarms and gates on our doors but the fear is always there," it says on the family's fundraising page on the Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers website. "A service dog would be able to help keep Jackson in a safe place or help us find him if he ever got further away."
In October of last year, the Silva's family dog Baxter passed away. Greg Silva said a few days later as Jackson was playing with his foam ABC's in the bathtub, he wrote out the word "dog." It's the first word Jackson spelled on his own, besides his name. As the weeks went on, Jackson began spelling out "can dog," what the Silva's and teachers say is Jackson asking for a dog.
As the family began researching getting another dog, they learned about Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers.
"They are specifically trained to the needs of your child," Greg Silva said. "It will give us a little extra peace of mind and it will give him a friend, someone that will be with him at all times."
The Silva's say Jackson can also experience severe meltdowns and that a service dog would help to calm him by laying with him and putting deep pressure on his body.
"The method of providing deep pressure isn't something that is helpful for all people with autism, but it is something that helps a lot with our Jack," their fundraising page states. "SDWR Autism Service Dogs are trained to help with better sleeping patterns, better reading skill sets, lesser meltdowns, redirection away from repetitive behavior, and even in severe cases they can be trained to find a child if lost."
Doors open Friday at 6:30 p.m., followed by a happy hour starting at 7 p.m., and the comedy show at 8 p.m. The ticket price is $25 in advance or $35 at the door. Raffle items include a stay at a villa in Costa Rica, gift certificates from local restaurants and businesses, a jersey signed by Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, and more.
Sponsors of the event are the York Harbor Inn, Harbor Hair Company, Clark Sillery from Fred Pappalardo DJ's, and the Law office of Attorney Lisa Roche.
For more information and to order tickets, call (207) 363-5119 ext. 279. For more information on the family's fundraising or Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, visit www.sdwr.org and search for "Jackson's Puppy Fund" under donate.