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Disabled-rights activist was Canine Companions stalwart

  • February 11, 2008
  • Bruce Bromley

Funeral in Libertyville today for Amy Campos, 40
February 11, 2008
NEWS-SUN STAFF REPORT

LIBERTYVILLE — Amy Campos, who was paralyzed at age 9 in a swimming accident and went on to become a disabled-rights activist who helped match service dogs with people in need, died last week after suffering from respiratory illness. She was 40.

In a 1997 interview with The News-Sun, Campos described how she was left a quadriplegic after diving into a shallow pool and breaking her neck. The New York native went on to earn a degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and moved to the Chicago area with her husband.

In November 1991, Campos became active with the Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit agency that trains service dogs. She was matched with a black Labrador named Yanz, who assisted her with everything from picking up dropped keys to helping her after falls.

Campos eventually became a regional coordinator for the California-based organization, working out of its Glenview office find homes for service dogs.

“We place exceptional dogs with exceptional people,” she said, adding that her own dog gave both her and her family “peace of mind.”

In addition to her matchmaking abilities, Campos organized fund-raisers for Canine Companions, including a Woof & Wheels Wash and Classic Car Show in Vernon Hills in June 2006.
After $3,600 was raised from bathing 93 dogs and washing 120 cars, Campos said, “We broke our previous records for dog and car wash totals, and we’re grateful to everyone … Our generous supporters made this event an overwhelming success.”