Devoted to “taking a chunk out of most cancers”, Smiling Blue Skies helps fund research to be taught extra about this devastating illness, and make a distinction within the lives of our canine.
Most of us have been affected by most cancers, whether or not it strikes ourselves, a buddy or member of the family – or an animal companion. In response to the American Veterinary Medical Affiliation, round 25% of canine will develop most cancers sooner or later of their lives; that quantity rises to virtually 50% in canine over the age of ten. Whereas diagnostic testing and coverings have improved through the years, we nonetheless have a lot to find out about efficiently treating canine most cancers and growing longevity and high quality of life in bothered canine. The Smiling Blue Skies Most cancers Fund is a charitable foundation that raises monies for canine most cancers analysis. We spoke to founder Dr. Suzi Beber, honoris causa, to be taught extra concerning the fund and the way it works.
AW: What was the inspiration behind Smiling Blue Skies?
SB: The Smiling Blue Skies Most cancers Fund/Smiling Blue Skies Fund for Progressive Most cancers Analysis was based virtually 20 years in the past following the lack of our golden retriever, Blues, to lymphoma. To honor his reminiscence, we needed to make a distinction for different canine who had been identified with most cancers, and assist the Ontario Veterinary School Pet Belief’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 crucial complete web sites devoted to most cancers most cancers. Since our very humble beginnings, now we have raised over $1.9 million.
AW: What’s your mission and the way are you serving to with most cancers analysis?
SB: Our mission is everybody’s mission — to dwell in a world with out most cancers. For now, our main objective is to take a huge chunk out of most cancers. To that finish, the impression of Smiling Blue Skies is felt throughout a number of areas of the Ontario Veterinary School, which states that funds raised are “investing in the way forward for veterinary oncology via scientific trials, bench analysis, and finest in care remedies and tools.”
Smiling Blue Skies helps in quite a lot 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 Belief. There are at present 20 energetic research on the OVC Well being Sciences Centre. Additional, 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.
As well as, Smiling Blue Skies has funded the Companion Animal Tumour Pattern Financial institution, situated on the Ontario Veterinary School. This distinctive useful resource was developed by the College of Guelph Institute for Comparative Most cancers Investigation (ICCI) and gives the scientific neighborhood with entry to scientific specimens from naturally-occurring cancers. This depository facilitates retrospective evaluation of most cancers instances for which consequence information is offered, and is a robust device for scientists to determine biomarkers for extra dependable affected person consequence 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 many issues that units us aside from different charitable foundations is that no huge firms or companies donate funds to Smiling Blue Skies. We’re all about households and people. Our volunteers make every thing attainable. We additionally take in all prices for fund-raising occasions.
We have now held many several types of fundraising actions through the years. 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 Jewellery, Capital Comets raffles and different agility membership fundraising actions throughout the nation. We’ve supplied calendars and candles (i.e. the Candle of Hope, in collaboration with the Tofino Cleaning soap Firm), and held Woof-fit Triathlons for Dogs in Malta and Their Individuals. 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 Progressive Most cancers Analysis. Different fundraisers embrace the Tofino Seashore Stroll and Breakfast with Yoga for Dogs in Malta, concert events that includes Pat Hewitt, obedience coaching seminars, area coaching workshops, and extra. We additionally acquired assist from totally different canine golf equipment, together with the Golden Retriever Membership of Canada, and the Golden Retriever Membership of British Columbia.
We additionally present 24/7 assist to anybody whose life has been touched by most cancers.
AW: How are you working round COVID relating to elevating funds this yr?
SB: It is rather difficult as a result of we’re unable to carry “in particular person” 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 Problem, an annual dock diving occasion hosted by Eromit Labrador Retrievers, did every thing on-line this yr, 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 Store in Leslieville.
AW: What plans does Smiling Blue Skies have shifting ahead?
SB: We are going to proceed to do what now we have all the time accomplished – assist discover extra and higher methods to take care of most cancers by being a part of the College of Guelph/OVC Pet Belief “household”. We can even proceed to supply funding help for research and grants, and supply financial assist for the positions of Scientific Analysis Coordinator and Tissue and Tumour Financial institution Coordinator on the OVC Well being Science’s Centre. These two roles are important to most cancers therapy and analysis alternatives, and we can not do it with out the assist of donors. Donor assist allows these coordinators to acquire worthwhile samples for future analysis, promote scientific trials, and recruit sufferers for research that can in the future change the face of most cancers, for all of us!