A Colorado underdog has won the $50,000 after its application beat out 300,000 others for the 50K Pepsi Refresh Everything grant.
GAP Service Dogs found out about the challenge from a woman GAP had helped through the donation of a service dog.
Barbara Brady, from Lakewood, suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2005, and the gift of Jasper, her service dog, has helped her lead a better life. Jasper helps her cope with vertigo and make her way up stairs. He carries a pack on his back with her belongings, and is trained to provide a “medical alert” if Brady is having difficulties.
When Brady heard about PepsiCo’s contest, she told GAP to try for it. The organization went all-out, with volunteers and clients from Ft. Collins to Colorado Springs petitioning votes from strangers. They went to malls, bus stops, Black Friday lines, and holiday craft shows, passing out 10,000 business cards.
GAP will use the contest money to buy a new van with a power wheelchair lift to improve client access to the service dog program.
According to Brady, the service dogs are provided for free with 136 hours of training included.
Service dogs are expensive to raise and train. That this organization gives them to those in need for free is amazing, and they deserve every dollar of the grant.
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