HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. — A Hamilton County teenager has raised more than $30,000 and counting for the Pets Healing Vets program instead of having a traditional birthday celebration.
The program pairs veterans across the state with emotional support animals.
Robbie Blackwell, 13, has been raising money for the cause for a few years now, but this is the biggest amount so far.
It’s partly because of a private donor who wanted to remain anonymous. They matched up to $15,000 in donations.
“You know, they, along with all of the other people who helped come in and create this reality, are the reason we’re able to have something like this today, so we thank them for that,” Blackwell said.
Robbie says he also had help from family and friends and reached out online.
“It’s just great to be able to put like this event together and put it forward to something that really means a lot to us,” said Blackwell.
The program is fully funded by the Humane Society for Hamilton County and helps veterans suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.
“So, this is a very expensive program, as you can imagine. There are 35 animals paired through the program and each of those animals, you know, the cost for care for them annually is thousands of dollars. And so this is literally helping save so many lives at both ends of the leash,” said Jennifer Hatcher, senior outreach manager for the Humane Society for Hamilton County.
“I just want to say, again I am so amazed at what a tremendous impact a 13-year-old had in his local community and just would really encourage other teenagers and youth to do the same because you’re never too young to make a big impact in the lives of others.”
Even though Robbie’s birthday was back in September, he is still taking donations. Click here for more information on donations.