Dedicated to “taking a chew out of most cancers”, Smiling Blue Skies helps fund research to study extra about this devastating illness, and make a distinction within the lives of our canines.
Most of us have been affected by most cancers, whether or not it strikes ourselves, a good friend or member of the family – or an animal companion. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, round 25% of canines will develop most cancers sooner or later of their lives; that quantity rises to nearly 50% in canines over the age of ten. While diagnostic testing and coverings have improved over time, we nonetheless have a lot to find out about efficiently treating canine most cancers and rising longevity and high quality of life in troubled canines. The Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund is a charitable foundation that raises monies for canine most cancers analysis. We spoke to founder Dr. Suzi Beber, honoris causa, to study extra concerning the fund and the way it works.
AW: What was the inspiration behind Smiling Blue Skies?
SB: The Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund/Smiling Blue Skies Fund for Innovative Cancer Research was based nearly 20 years in the past following the lack of our golden retriever, Blues, to lymphoma. To honor his reminiscence, we wished to make a distinction for different canines who had been identified with most cancers, and help the Ontario Veterinary College Pet Trust’s quest to seek out extra and higher methods to take care of most cancers.
The Smiling Blue Skies web site started as a one-page memorial to Blues. Over time, it has grow to be one of the complete web sites devoted to most cancers most cancers. Since our very humble beginnings, now we have raised over $1.9 million.
AW: What is your mission and the way are you serving to with most cancers analysis?
SB: Our mission is everybody’s mission — to reside in a world with out most cancers. For now, our major purpose is to take a large chew out of most cancers. To that finish, the impression of Smiling Blue Skies is felt throughout a number of areas of the Ontario Veterinary College, which states that funds raised are “investing in the way forward for veterinary oncology via scientific trials, bench analysis, and greatest in care remedies and tools.”
Smiling Blue Skies helps in a wide range of methods. Between 2014 and 2019, for instance, 1,215 canine sufferers had been recruited into 43 oncology-related research, many funded by Smiling Blue Skies and the OVC Pet Trust. There are presently 20 energetic research on the OVC Health Sciences Centre. Further, 16 research are open for recruitment and one other 4 are closed for recruitment, however 121 sufferers are nonetheless being actively tracked via the gathering of samples and the gathering of follow-up information.
In addition, Smiling Blue Skies has funded the Companion Animal Tumour Sample Bank, positioned on the Ontario Veterinary College. This distinctive useful resource was developed by the University of Guelph Institute for Comparative Cancer Investigation (ICCI) and gives the scientific group with entry to scientific specimens from naturally-occurring cancers. This depository facilitates retrospective evaluation of most cancers instances for which final result information is obtainable, and is a strong device for scientists to determine biomarkers for extra dependable affected person final result predictions, in addition to to acquire perception into the underlying causes of most cancers.
AW: How does Smiling Blue Skies elevate funds?
SB: One of the issues that units us other than different charitable foundations is that no large corporations or firms donate funds to Smiling Blue Skies. We are all about households and people. Our volunteers make every part potential. We additionally take up all prices for fund-raising occasions.
We have held many several types of fundraising actions over time. They embrace walks, of which our very first was held in Muskoka. Walks have additionally been held in different Ontario communities, in addition to Quebec and BC – from Barrie, Bradford, Burlington, Oakville, and Toronto, to Montreal, Nanaimo (in partnership with Luke’s Legacy), Victoria, and Tofino.
We’ve additionally raised funds via Smiling Blue Skies Ceramics (which not exists), Smiling Blue Skies Jewelry, Capital Comets raffles and different agility membership fundraising actions throughout the nation. We’ve provided calendars and candles (i.e. the Candle of Hope, in collaboration with the Tofino Soap Company), and held Woof-fit Triathlons for Dogs and Their People. The Animal Wellness Natural Cookbook for Dogs, printed by Redstone Media Group donates 5% of the sale of every cookbook to the Smiling Blue Skies Fund for Innovative Cancer Research. Other fundraisers embrace the Tofino Beach Walk and Breakfast with Yoga for Dogs, concert events that includes Pat Hewitt, obedience coaching seminars, area coaching workshops, and extra. We additionally acquired help from completely different canine golf equipment, together with the Golden Retriever Club of Canada, and the Golden Retriever Club of British Columbia.
We additionally present 24/7 help to anybody whose life has been touched by most cancers.
AW: How are you working round COVID relating to elevating funds this 12 months?
SB: It could be very difficult as a result of we’re unable to carry “in individual” occasions. So each single donation is so, so appreciated!
A couple of occasions have nonetheless been taking place safely across the pandemic. For instance, our Barrie volunteers held a calendar contest to lift funds. The Western Cup Challenge, an annual dock diving occasion hosted by Eromit Labrador Retrievers, did every part on-line this 12 months, together with a Smiling Blue Skies raffle and fundraiser. And our Toronto group has a terrific handmade masks venture occurring proper now at Hastings Barber Shop in Leslieville.
AW: What plans does Smiling Blue Skies have shifting ahead?
SB: We will proceed to do what now we have all the time executed – assist discover extra and higher methods to take care of most cancers by being a part of the University of Guelph/OVC Pet Trust “household”. We may even proceed to supply funding help for research and grants, and supply financial help for the positions of Clinical Research Coordinator and Tissue and Tumour Bank Coordinator on the OVC Health Science’s Centre. These two roles are important to most cancers therapy and analysis alternatives, and we can not do it with out the help of donors. Donor help permits these coordinators to acquire invaluable samples for future analysis, promote scientific trials, and recruit sufferers for research that may in the future change the face of most cancers, for all of us!