Mostly these days I'm writing captions for the book (doing the fiber images only, I've made it to page 191 out of 438). However, despite my intense focus on deadlines and daily responsibilities, I endeavor to have a slightly balanced life, so I've been doing a few other things. Here's one.
On November 7, the first of an annual series of walks will be happening across the U.S. with the goal of funding comparative oncology research. A friend of mine is the organizer of the Fort Collins walk. I offered to help out, which means that I've been putting up posters and handing out postcards as I go about my other business, and have also been assisting with behind-the-scenes tasks that I can do when I need a break.
Research into canine cancer directly supports treatments for humans. Nearby Colorado State University is at the forefront of some of this research, and there are people in this community whose cancer treatment has been coordinated by both human and veterinary medical staffs.
The project started with the 2 dogs 2,000 miles project, which then led to the idea that if 2 dogs can walk 2,000 miles to work for the prevention and treatment of cancer, then 2 million dogs can walk 2 miles for the same purpose. Read about the origin of the phrase "puppy up!" here.
I'm not a great fundraiser, but I am good at, say, making sure that water bowls are filled for dogs at the walk and that registration tables are staffed so other (more extroverted!) people can raise funds. So that's what I'm doing. Here's my daughter's fundraising page (she's a full-time grad student, also an introvert, and has been doing more background work than fundraising, too). Here's Kris's. (We love what Kris is doing for the walk, in all ways. She's in the vet tech program at Front Range Community College and has lots of great connections.) Here's the whole Fort Collins group of individuals and teams. And here's my page. Just in case you have some spare change to pitch in to, as the event's information says:
- Support those with cancer
- Honor the friends we've lost
- Walk for those we can help
If each of us does a little bit—through this effort or another—we'll all have more success stories to tell each other about beating cancer. Treatments have come a long way since I was young. I'd love to see additional leapfrog progress in cure rates now.
The inaugural walks are taking place in
- Atlanta, GA
- Auburn, WA
- Boston, MA
- Cincinnati, OH
- Edinboro, PA
- Fairborn, OH
- Fort Collins, CO
- New Milford, CT
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Poughkeepsie, NY
- Richmond, VA
- Seattle, WA
- . . . and a Virtual Walk
Along with the many human friends I'm doing this for, I'll be walking in large part for Heather. Sorry for the bad picture. I think you can see her spirit anyway.
We adopted Heather at the age of 6, in 1992, when she retired from producing show-quality puppies, and we lost her to adenocarcinoma when she was 12, in 1998. Early spaying significantly reduces the risk factors for this type of cancer. Some of her diagnosis and treatment took place at Colorado State at a time when a number of creative treatment and support programs that are now well established were just getting started.
Here's Heather with Ariel, whom she raised (even though Ariel was a rescue and not one of her own puppies):
Heather lives on in our hearts, and the quality of love she taught us continues to benefit everyone we meet. We'd like to surround all our friends, especially those who are dealing with cancer, with Heather's legacy of intelligent (and also mischievous) caring.
So we'll be walking on November 7. Join us?