RAINSVILLE, Ala. - One community is coming together in order to purchase a service dog for an autistic six-year-old, but they need your help. They want to provide a Sidekick for Sam.
Meet Sam Jackson. "He loves dinosaurs. We have hundreds of animal figurines, dinosaur figurines." said Sam's mother, Alison Jackson.
Sam is a vibrant 6-year-old who's a lover of books and all things involving animals. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of two.
"He started when he was about 18 months," said Alison. "The vocabulary that he had, it just disappeared. He would say mama, dadda, babba and then it just stopped."
Aaron and Alison Jackson placed their toddler in several therapy classes. "At that point he wasn't verbal. He didn't tell us what he wanted. He would get upset have a meltdown and we couldn't figure out why."
They later found out that Sam falls on the autism spectrum. "The say is that if you met one kid with autism, you've met one kid with autism because they're all totally different."
From there the Jackson's goal was to give Sam the most independent and routine life as they possibly could. "We still do a lot of buggies in grocery stores and strollers when we go out in public places."
After a little research, Alison stumbled upon an organization called Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers. She then knew that a sidekick for Sam would provide a great amount of comfort and protection as he grows in this journey.
"The kids were able to walk side by side with them in grocery stores and shopping malls."
So Alison got to work, collaborating with her mother and cousin who work in the wedding industry. "They got together and came up with an idea to do a wedding giveaway."
With the support of many vendors and companies in the area, they'll be able to give one winner the wedding of their dreams.
"We couldn't have done it without the community."
But most importantly they'll be raising money for a Sam's very own sidekick.
For just $50, you can enter into Sidekick for Sam. The contest will give one lucky person a chance to win an all expenses paid wedding, including a choice of six different venues, a fully catered event, a $500 gift card toward a honeymoon, hair, make-up, a photographer and so much more!
The drawing will end on September 30, here is where you can donate: