McKinney 3L raises funds so man can keep guide dog

December 19, 2013
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Thanks to an Indiana law student’s study break, a New York City-area man will be able to keep his longtime companion and guide dog.

3L Grant Kirsh saw Cecil Williams’ story on the news while taking a break from studying for his finals at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.  Williams made headlines after falling onto the tracks at a subway station in Harlem after fainting. Williams, who is blind, has a guide dog, Orlando. The nearly 11-year-old dog jumped onto the tracks to try to help Williams. He clung to his dog as a train passed over them. Amazingly, Williams and the dog escaped relatively unscathed. Williams had some cuts and bruises, and Orlando wasn’t injured.

That’s the feel good part of the news story. The sad part is that because of Orlando’s age, he has to retire and Williams’ insurance will not cover the cost of caring for Orlando and a new guide dog.

That’s where Kirsh comes in and the story takes a happy twist. He turned to indiegogo, a crowd-source funding site, and created an account to raise money so that Williams can keep Orlando. The account was started Tuesday and it already has hit its goal of $50,000. As of Thursday morning, people have contributed nearly $66,000, all of which will go to Williams.

“I just saw an opportunity to do something and ran with it,” Kirsh said. He tweeted so much about it, and those tweets were retweeted so frequently, that by 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 18, he’d hit his limit for Twitter for the day.

Kirsh’s motivation for helping a man he never met comes from his love of dogs. He has two dogs, one of which was homeless.

Kirsh worked for seven years in commercial real estate before attending law school. His father and uncle practice at their adoption firm Kirsh & Kirsh, which Grant is planning on joining after graduation.

If you’re interested in donating to Williams’ account, visit the indiegogo website. The fundraising ends Dec. 31.

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