Family needing service dog reaches goal; paying it forward - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Family needing service dog reaches goal; paying it forward

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)---We first introduced you to 7-year-old Dalton O'Bannon in mid-November.

The young Louisville boy is full of energy and has autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and battles vision impairment.

His family was fundraising to get him a service dog from the non-profit organization called ‘4 Paws for Ability'.

"We're worried that he'll have a seizure in the middle of the night and we won't hear him or know about it, and that he won't make it through, or have significant damage," Amy O'Bannon told WDRB on November 16th, 2013.

Fast-forward a little more than 2 weeks, and Dalton and his family have received big news.

Families are responsible for raising $13,000 of the $22,000 needed for a service dog through ‘4 Paws for Ability'.

The O'Bannon family raised $3,000, and now an anonymous donation has come through for the rest- $10,000 dollars.

"I came home and I cried in my husband's arms. Very emotional," says Amy O'Bannon.

They've already told Dalton the news and they say they are beyond grateful for the anonymous donation.

"It's such a different emotion than anything we've ever had. We've never had anybody open up to us like that before," says Amy O'Bannon.

However, the story doesn't end there. They're now paying it forward and helping another Louisville family that moved to Georgia 4 years ago.

"I do believe in fate and I believe like there was a really strong connection between the 2 of us that led us to each other," says Joanne Wells.

Joanne Wells met the O'Bannon family online through ‘4 Paws For Ability'. Joanne Wells says her 4-year-old son Jake is also autistic, and non-verbal.

They worry about his safety, as he sometimes runs off quickly, and have also been fundraising for a service dog.

Now that the O'Bannon family has reached their goal, they are working with the Wells family to help them reach theirs.

It is something that this former Louisville family says, means the world.  

"Oh my gosh. I will never be able to put into words how much I appreciate how much Amy's doing for us. We have no words. We hope and pray we will be able to pay it forward to another family the way she had done for us," says Joanne Wells.

The O'Bannon family is still holding a silent auction and pasta dinner on December 13th to raise money. It will be held at the Fern Creek Community Center from 5-9 p.m.

All money raised will go toward this other family in need.

Extra money raised at future events will help pay for hotel expenses for the O'Bannon family during the 2 weeks next December when Dalton will go to Ohio to get the service dog.

For more information on how to help, email Amy O'Bannon at 

To reach the Wells family in Georgia, you can contact the family on Facebook by clicking here. To reach the family, you can also email

For more information on '4 Paws For Ability', click here.

Copyright 2013 WDRB News.  All Rights Reserved.

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