Leading animal oncologist specialist at 5th Avenue Veterinary Specialists, Dr. MJ Hamilton, fights to keep animals on a healthy footing with The Pawstrong Animal Cancer Foundation. When Animal Fair Media’s Lucky Diamond was diagnosed with spleen cancer (and eventually succumbed to the disease), Dr. Hamilton provided her with the latest and cutting edge canine cancer treatments.
The Pawstrong Animal Cancer Foundation believes that animals make the world a better place. Their mission is to be a world leader in advancing veterinary research that protects treats and cures animal cancer, through fund research studies which will lead to animal health breakthroughs in diagnostics, treatments, prevention and cures of animal cancer.
Lucky inspired Pawstrong to remember those who lost their battle with cancer on their website! In honor of Lucky – Animal Fair Media made an appointment with Dr. Hamilton to get the doggie diagnosis on Pawstrong!
AF: Why did you become involved with Pawstrong?
DH: I became involved in Pawstrong about a year ago because I believed in their mission and was inspired by their vision. The founding members’ enthusiasm is infectious; it would be hard not to be involved. After a year of supporting their initiatives I was asked to join the board of directors. My involvement in Pawstrong is a natural extension of my daily fight against canine cancer.
AF: What inspired Pawstrong?
DH: Pawstrong was inspired by our 5 founding members 3 owners of dogs with cancer and 2 veterinarians. The journey of Vickie, Jerry & Eddie along with their veterinarians through the treatment of their dogs inspired the creation of Pawstrong. Everyone saw the need for better cancer treatment and additional support for owners during difficult times, resulting in the formation of Pawstrong.
AF: What are the Goals of the Organization?
DH: The organization has two main goals; 1. – Pawstrong supports cutting edge research programs with proven track records of advancing the diagnosis and treatment of animal cancers. We give special consideration to research performing collaborative human-veterinary studies as we strongly believe both humans and animals can benefit from research done using the spontaneous tumor model companion animals provide. 2. – we aim to provide financial and emotional support to senior citizens on fixed incomes whose beloved companion animals have been afflicted by this devastating disease as well as educational programs such as seminars, instructional materials and grief support for all owners.
AF: Who do they help?
DH: We aim to help all owners of pets with cancer. We also aim to help researchers developing new treatments for cancer.
AF: Who are all involved and why?
DH: Our board members are all involved for different reasons. The Drs. Lurie, Mornane and Hamilton want better treatment for cancer and help for owners. Vickie, Jerry and Eddie have the same goal from a pet owner perspective and help balance the science and medicine with a real world owners perspective.
AF: Did one animal inspire this organization?
DH: Four animals inspired the formation of Pawstrong Vickie’s dogs Holly, Jerry’s dog Seamus and Eddie’s dogs Johnny & Chloe.
AF: How does one apply – who gets help?
DH: All owners of dogs with cancer are welcome to utilize Pawstrong to support them through their pets cancer treatment. We host a free Canine Cancer Chat group twice a month supporting owners both during and after cancer treatment. Researchers can apply to our foundation for research grants to fund their research. We have a standard grant application process along with follow up monitoring of the progress our funded research is making.
AF: What are your dogs’ names?
DH: Sam is retired research beagle I adopted, Dough Doe and Doogie are my retired Dogue de Bordeaux show dogs.
AF: What cancer does your own dog have?
DH: Doogie is a spelenic hemangiosarcoma survivor and has recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
AF: What are you doing to help?
DH: I’m doing everything I can to help. As a veterinary oncologist I fight cancer every day. In my free time I volunteer for Pawstrong and their initiatives as well as Research lymphoma in the Dogue de Bordeaux and chair their health committee. I am also a registered bone marrow donor (for people). Its not about what I do, but rather what we do. Sadly, everyone will be touched by cancer in some way during their life either personally, through a family member or via their pet. We all have to do our part to discover the cure for cancer.
For more information on Pawstrong visit: pawstrong.org or 5th Avenue Veterinary Specialists: vcaspecialtyvets.com/fifth-avenue