Barkley, a five-year-old lab/hound mix, completed his training to become a therapy dog and went to work with him mom, Kathleen, who is an RN at Tucker Pavilion at CJW Medical Center. Thanks to his gentle and empathetic nature, the dog was extremely effective in reaching patients with mental illnesses ranging from depression to psychosis, patients whom even the staff often couldn’t reach. However, just five weeks into his new role, Barkley was diagnosed with liposarcoma in his left rear leg. His prognosis was good if the leg was amputated. In fact, the tumor might never come back, and Barkley could live to a ripe, old age. Says Kathleen, “Barkley is my best friend and a beloved member of our family and I will do anything to save his life.” But she simply couldn’t afford the cost of the expensive diagnostics, MRI and surgery, which came with a staggering price tag of $7,000! Kathleen reached out to FETCH a Cure to help fund Barkley’s treatment. Not only does FETCH a Cure raise pet cancer awareness and provide education for pet owners and the veterinary community, but through its Companions in Crisis program, the organization also funds lifesaving cancer treatments for pets throughout Virginia, Maryland and D.C. After the complex amputation surgery, Barkley was up and walking the next day. And it wasn’t long before he was by his mom’s side at Tucker Pavilion again and brightening countless patients’ day.
While stopped at a light, Trey was rear-ended by a drunk driver who was traveling at more than 50 m.p.h. The 20-year-old was severely injured, sustaining a broken neck and a traumatic brain injury (TBI). For the next four months, he underwent treatment in acute care and rehabilitation facilities. While that period was difficult for Trey and his family, they had no idea of the challenges ahead. Trey was semi-conscious for weeks, and during that time, the Brain Injury Association of Virginia (BIAV) provided his family with the information, support and referral assistance they needed to get the young man on a path to recovery. The nonprofit also connected Trey with a community-based brain injury program, which allowed him to develop job skills and start to regain his independence. Most importantly, BIAV gave the family hope. BIAV also introduced the family to Camp Bruce McCoy, where Trey made physical and mental strides while also having fun with new friends. Not only that, the camp gave his mother and caregiver a much-needed respite. Trey went to camp the first year in a wheelchair. Five years later, the wheelchair stays home. According to Trey and his family, “BIAV changed our lives!”