My name is Kristie. My husband Johnny and I live in Louisiana with 2 dogs that we love like children.
Angel is a 5 year old Carolina Yellow Dog aka American Dingo that wandered out of the woods and into our hearts when she was just a pup. Angel has another ½ sibling named Romeo. They are everything to each other. They’re more than friends, lovers, or even family. They’re best mates. They’re a pack.
Johnny and I were married in New Orleans in July 2009. Romeo was the ring bearer and Angel was the flower girl. 2 weeks after tying the knot Johnny found a lump on Angel’s belly during their daily Poochie Pilates session.
We immediately contacted our trusted family vet. She scheduled Angel to come in the next day to run blood work and diagnose the lump.
She started Angel on 2 medications; antibiotics to take the swelling down and a drug to stop cell regeneration in case it was a mast cell tumor. The following week we received a call from the vet’s office; the tests came back negative for cancer. We continued the antibiotics and were told to contact the doctor if the tumor persisted.
2 weeks later the lump had been reduced, but it was still very noticeable. The alarming part was Romeo’s constant fussing over Angel’s tummy. This behavior was highly unusual so we took him seriously and called vet right away.
Angel returned to the clinic and the doctor took a deep tissue sample of the lump. 4 days later the tests came back and the Doctor called to give us the gut wrenching news.
Angel’s tests came back and the lump was malignant. Our baby girl tested positive for cancer and she would need to begin treatment ASAP!
We were referred to an internal medicine vet that specializes in Lymphoma. I composed myself, held back a tidal wave of tears and read the number I’d just written through blurry eyes. I dialed the number and scheduled Angel for “staging” the following week. Johnny, Romeo and I accompanied Angel to her appointment as a family.
Angel was diagnosed with Stage II Lymphoma. The doc strongly suggested chemotherapy, but radiation was not an option due to the location of the tumor. Angel’s prognosis with chemotherapy alone is 6 months–1 year after the chemotherapy protocol has ended.
The first thing out of Johnny’s mouth was, “Is there a cure?” With so many advancements in science he just knew that there had to be something out there to save Angel’s life.
The doctor returned 2 hours with excellent news! She said, “You wanted a cure, you got it!” While we were waiting for Angel, the doctor was calling her colleagues from across the country to find an answer. All of the doctors came to the same conclusion. The only way to begin CURING canine lymphoma is by, CANINE BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTATION.
The procedure is being offered to the public at North Carolina State University’s Veterinary Teaching. NCSU started offering this procedure in 2008.
Did you know that 95% of transplants performed on humans were tested on dogs first?
Our hopes soared when heard about this once in a lifetime opportunity to save Angel! The Dr. informed us that the average cost for a canine bone marrow transplant procedure is $16,000. My husband didn’t blink before saying, “How long do we have to raise the money?”
The bone marrow transplant is available to dogs in remission for the first time, of a certain age, over 50lbs and with no damage to any organs. If all of the requirements are met she’ll qualify to receive the cure at end of her 25 week chemotherapy protocol.
Angel began chemotherapy on 9/24/09. By week 2 Angel’s CBC showed that Angel was in complete remission after only 1 treatment! All of the preliminary tests were administered to qualify Angel for the BMT; bone marrow aspirate to determine cell type, echo’s, ultra sounds and blood tests.
Angel’s qualifying tests confirm that Angel is a perfect candidate for the BMT.
Angel’s schedule is as follows:
- May 1st: Neupogen injections
- May 4th: Angel checks in at North Carolina State University
- May 6th: Angel’s Leukaphresis Procedure
- May 7th: Angel’s total body irradiation & transplant
This is the same procedure used on humans, performed on machines that were donated by the Mayo Clinic. They’re called leukopheresis machines and they harvest the patients own stem cells. No donor is necessary!
On April 19, 2010, Angel will begin taking a drug called Neupogen for six days to encourage stem cells to leave the marrow and enter the blood.
Once these cells are harvested, Angel’s entire body will be subjected to radiation (called total body irradiation or TBI) to kill any remaining cancer cells left. Following the total body irradiation, the marrow is transfused into the patient.
As of 3/22/10, NCSU’s BMT Unit has performed the procedure on 14 dogs with B-cell Lymphoma. Angel will be number 17.
Number of dogs with B cell lymphoma that have received the bone marrow transplant = 14:
- 9 are in remission living cancer free lives!
- 2 died from causes un-related to lymphoma.
- 3 have relapsed; 2 are deceased, and 1 is back on chemotherapy and doing well. Dogs who relapse seem to do so within 4 months post transplant.
The longest survivor post-transplant is 15 months and the second longest is at 13 months! Other recipients are 1 to 10 months out from the date they received the BMT.
Angel is completely finished with her 25 week protocol and once chemo is stopped there are no guarantees. We’re thrilled that the BMT (Bone Marrow Transplant) and chemo being back to back, because then there is zero room for relapse.
So far we’ve raised $8,000 of the $16,000 needed to save Angel’s life. We purchased pet insurance for the 1st time just before Angel was diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, we didn’t purchase a “Cancer Rider” when we enrolled, so what they covered was minimal. Johnny and I need your help to pay for Angel’s life-saving procedure. We are still raising donations through events, garage sales & eBay.
Qualifying Exams: $3,000
Pre-BMT Medications: $3,000
Helping a dog win it’s fight against cancer: PRICELESS!
Angel has the rare opportunity to fight cancer and win! But she can’t do it without your help. We are grateful for anything that you can offer to help us Save Angel’s life, no amount is too small. We have until May 3, 2010 to save Angel’s life and I’m confident that with your help we will reach our goal in time! We encourage you to share this story with your friends, prayer groups, families and message boards!
Kristie — Angel’s Mama
Unfortunately, Canine Cancer Awareness, Inc., is not be able to offer any financial assistance at this time because our funds are so limited. Angel’s story is amazing and hopefully we can help raise funds for Angel’s treatment in this way. Any sponsor donations made on behalf of Angel will be used to pay unpaid invoices and the checks will be sent directly to Angel’s vet.
Please also give generously to Angel. To help sponsor treatment, you can click on the PayPal donate button below or send a check to:
Canine Cancer Awareness, Inc.
44 Devoe Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
DONATIONS RECEIVED FOR ANGEL: