My name is Carly and I am 22 years old. I have lived in Southwest Florida my entire life, aside from four years spent in Tallahassee to earn my Bachelors from Florida State University (go Noles!). I hope to build a career as a performing cellist, teaching artist, and advocate but need your help to continue to pursue my dreams and have an impact through music and in the lives of people with disabilities.
I was born with Autism Spectrum Disorder and will have it for the rest of my life. I have had too many close calls stepping in front of cars. Friends and family have had to stop me or pull me out of the way. I fully understand the inherent risk of crossing a street, but because of the way my brain processes information, I often do not notice I am approaching a dangerous situation. My dog will be trained to alert me to sounds like fire alarms and to stop at curbs and street crossings so I can respond accordingly and make safe decisions. I have approached several other service dog training organizations that turned me away because I am an autistic adult. Topaz, on the other hand, has been welcoming and understanding at every stage of the process. I will be proud to represent them as their first adult recipient of an autism assistance dog.
Topaz goes above and beyond in their willingness to serve disabled people with complex needs, and I am no exception. In 2021, I was in a hit-and-run accident and suffered a brain injury. Because the other driver fled the scene, I have no recourse for what happened to me. As a result of this injury, my body fails to pump blood to my brain fast enough upon standing. This results in heart palpitations, dizziness, balance issues, blurred or blacked-out vision, and even loss of consciousness. I will not be able to continue to perform on stage, or perform many tasks of daily living if my condition worsens. I am pursuing treatment where it can help, and where it cannot, my dog will be trained to step in.
Many thanks for any contributions towards this goal. This would not be possible without your support!