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Walking for Riley - San Diego K9 Cancer Walk

Barbee Gennerman remembers the shock of learning that her golden retriever Riley had cancer. “I knew dogs got cancer,” said Barbee. “You just think it will never happen to your dog.”

Riley started chemotherapy, sending Barbee and her family on a roller-coaster ride of remission, disease recurrence, good days and bad days. Riley was a “very young” 12-year-old when he was diagnosed, and Barbee felt his good health helped him weather the demands of chemotherapy. Like so many other pet owners who have pursued cancer treatment, Barbee constantly struggled with the unpredictability of the disease.

“Sometimes Riley went into complete remission, only to come out again after a few weeks,” Barbee said. “Then he’d go through another round, and this time have a long remission. It was unpredictable. Sometimes a bad day would be followed by several great days.”

After seven months of fighting cancer, Barbee knew it was time to say good-bye to her beloved dog.

It was Riley’s illness that first prompted Barbee to look for ways to stop canine cancer from affecting more dogs. During her research, she discovered that Riley’s veterinary team at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital of San Diego was a major supporter of the San Diego K9 Cancer Walk. Not only is VSH a major supporter of the walk, but VSH technician Adin Perl, captain of the Cancer Bites!! Team, has been the top individual fundraiser for the last six years. Once Barbee found out her veterinary team was a supporter, she knew she just had to volunteer.

Barbee sold T-shirts to help promote the 2014 San Diego K9 Cancer Walk, and last year she put up posters and sent out post cards, “anything I could do to get the word out.” The weather for the 2015 walk was anything but a typical Southern California sunny day. Torrential rain pelted the participants. Despite the weather, Barbee and the other volunteers were out in force, supporting the walkers and making the event a success.

This year, Barbee is the committee chairperson for the 2016 San Diego K9 Cancer Walk on March 6 at NTC Park at Liberty Station. She’s hopeful the weather will be more cooperative this year, and is looking forward to setting a new record for money raised and number of walk participants. She has two rescue dogs that will be by her side and Riley will be in her heart.

“I enjoy working with Morris Animal Foundation, and I support their mission to find ways to stop canine cancer,” said Barbee.

You, too, can further our mission to help dogs everywhere live longer, healthier lives. We invite you to learn more about our 2016 K9 Cancer Walks, our research, and our accomplishments.  Together, we can find ways to prevent, treat and cure canine cancer.

Categories: Canine cancer
February 29, 2016