National Cancer Survivors Day is an annual event celebrated world wide in hundreds of communities to celebrate cancer survivors, inspire those recently diagnosed, support families and reach out to communities affected by cancer. With more than 14 million survivors in America, we all probably know someone who has beaten cancer. Today Sam and I celebrated their survival as the hospital held its 7th Annual “Leaves of Hope” event. And although I’m still a bit jet-lagged from the long flight home, Sam and I crossed the finish line before all the other pet therapy dogs. Yay, Sam. 🐾
Whenever we represent the pet therapy program at the hospital, I’m very proud of my fur-kid. He always does his best even if he tried like hell to snatch a bagel off the breakfast-for-survivors table. Clearly there’s work to be done about his table manners. I just can’t help wondering where in that stupid pea-brain did he think snitching a bagel would be acceptable??
Goofy dog. But he was mellow and his usual friendly self around all the dogs, the runners, and the chaos associated with an event that had 750 runners (a new record this year-woot!), race personnel, cancer survivors and other supporters/volunteers at this event. As we walked through the health and safety expo, we were greeted with smiles and appreciation for being part of the pet therapy team by countless survivors. When I see these former patients, I can’t help but marvel at their courage, their resilience, their optimism. They’re the ones that inspire Sam and I every single time we have the privilege to do a hospital shift. I am profoundly in awe of their human spirit and ever so thankful for my own life blessings. They give me so much to contemplate and I am driven to help them out any way possible. What Sam and I do seems so minor and yet their faces told me otherwise. For this, I am extremely humbled.
To those who have to deal with this terrible disease, know we are here for you. At events like this, as well as walking through the oncology floor trying our damnedest to lighten your load just a bit with a smile, a kind word and a tail wag. Through research and events like this one we will beat this rotten bastard of a disease and together we’ll continue to celebrate your life.