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Road to Hope: Kate O’Brien, Sr. Events Specialist

Morris Animal Foundation’s Road to Hope blog series follows staff members as they canvas the country sharing our mission with partners and donors .

Much of my professional career I have had the pleasure of working with volunteers who believe in making a difference. Here at Morris Animal Foundation, I am fortunate to manage the Foundation’s events program and to work with passionate volunteers from across the country who help to plan our K9 Cancer Walk series. 

Because of their passion and dedication to fighting canine cancer, we are able to produce six K9 Cancer Walks from coast to coast. Our walk series helps raise funds for research that will develop prevention strategies, test new treatments, establish tools for cancer researchers and train new scientists specializing in cancer research.

Our 2014 walk season began with a bang with the first walk in south Florida, followed by our second in north San Diego County, California. At these events, dog lovers walk with their dogs to celebrate the lives of their canine best friends or they walk in memory of dogs that have lost their battle with canine cancer.

Our walks are a great fundraiser for Morris Animal Foundation. To date the program has raised more than $1 million for canine cancer research.

Teams are encouraged to create shirts, dress up their dogs, make signs and do much more. This is a great way for them to share their stories with us and with their communities.

Our walks would not be possible without our volunteer committees. They do an amazing job of rallying their communities and working for months before the event to recruit participants, educate them about Morris Animal Foundation and the importance of fundraising, and coordinate event logistics. 

I am so thankful for each of our volunteers and the commitment they bring to the planning committee and the event.

Many of our volunteers have been affected by canine cancer. One of my favorite parts of the walk is to meet the survivors and hear about their journeys as well as their pet parents’ stories. It’s these stories that make my job so rewarding because I know that the research the Foundation funds is helping these dogs. Sadly, I also meet way too many pet parents who have lost their best friends to canine cancer and are at the walk to honor their dogs and fight back against the disease. These stories remind me why we work so hard at Morris Animal Foundation to help animals live longer, healthier lives and why I believe that one day we will cure canine cancer.

To learn more about the Morris Animal Foundations events program visit,

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Categories: K9 Cancer walks
March 10, 2014