By RILEY DOHERTY
The PuppyUp Walk is a charity event that hopes to bring funding and awareness to cancer, not only in humans but also dogs. As described on their website, the PuppyUp walks were created to “promote awareness of canine cancer and fundraise for cancer research to benefit both pets and people.” The organization was started by Luke Robinson, who in 2008 lost his Great Pyrenees, Malcom, to cancer.
After Malcom’s death, Robinson and his two dogs traveled from town to town, telling his story while educating people on the issue of cancer in dogs. Eventually, his efforts picked up steam, allowing him to start the PuppyUp Charity Foundation.
In an email, the Puppy Up Foundation director, Ginger Morgan, said that she started working for the foundation in August of 2008 when Luke Robinson traveled through Memphis. “More people are becoming aware of canine cancer since we started the Foundation, however, there are still many who do not know that dogs get cancer,” she said.
According to their website, the foundation has donated over 1.2 million to canine cancer research and education and has helped fund three major clinical trials relating to canine cancer. The trials include a study on drug therapy in pet dogs with bladder cancer, to which the foundation donated $100,000 and a study on canine lymphoma, to which the foundation donated $100,000.
In addition, the foundation has donated to various universities with the hopes of improving existing treatments. One of the main ways PuppyUp raises money is through their walks, which take place in multiple states including Arkansas, New York, Tennessee, and now, Fredericksburg, Virginia.
The Fredericksburg PuppyUp walk will take place on Sunday, Oct. 28, in Hurkamp Park which is located on Prince Edward Street. Interested participants can pre-register until Oct. 26 for $20 or register the day before or the day of the walk for $25. Children under the age of 14 can walk for free.
Even with the fee, many UMW students are participating in the walk.
“The pricing is fair,” said Blaze Hassek, a freshman. “There is always the option of having someone sponsor you for the walk. I feel that is always a better choice, personally.”
“I totally agree with the pricing,” said sophomore Parker Siebenschuh, who is planning to participate in the walk.
Though most students were supportive of the price, some were less thrilled about the price of admission, like junior Rachein Childress. “[The walk] should be priced lower,” Childress said. “Awareness for dog cancer is relatively obscure and there should probably be more focus on getting numbers before going to $20.”
When asked if cancer in dogs gets enough attention, there was a general consensus among students interviewed.
“I don’t think it gets enough notice,” says Blaze, whose childhood dog passed away due to cancer.
“No, I don’t think it is but hopefully [the walk] will bring attention to it,” said Parker.
As director of the foundation, Morgan considers people’s understanding of canine cancer as critical to the survival of dogs everywhere. “Awareness and early detection are the keys to having our pets survive cancer,” she said.