Sunday, January 15, 2012

EMC Square

The intersection of Stockton Street and Bayard Lane

On a cold day December 2009, Hudson and Murphy and I trudged into Princeton NJ.  We stopped for repast and repose at an unknown, unmarked park like hundreds of times before on our travels.

But at the far corner of this one stood the bust of Albert Einstein.  The statue is de-refined to the point of raw, unmitigated emotion:  to portray a mathematically imprecise-world weariness none of us will ever know, was the artist's intent I suppose.

Murphy was always known as the smart one with a shock of white hair similar to Einstein so we had a fun time taking photos at the square back then. Some of you remember this.

Returning to Princeton this past week was bittersweet.  Although it was without Murphy,  we met with the scientists so passionate about this research that we funded and full of hope about its potential.  It was a good day.

Still, I had to stop by the EMC Square and say a silent prayer for my boy who gave his life for this cause.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Savage Mountain

Six years ago to this day I lost my boy Malcolm to metastatic cancer and on this anniversary, it is with tremendous honor I announce the funding of The 2 Million Dogs Foundation's first research initiative: A breast cancer study benefiting both humans and canines.

The 2 Million Dogs Foundation presented a check for $50,000 to Princeton University today to help fund the school’s Molecular Study of Canine Mammary Tumor Development and Progression: from Genome To Clinical Outcome.

Mammary tumors are the most common tumors in intact female dogs, and in humans, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women - approximately one in eight women develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Mammary tumors in dogs and breast cancer in women have many similarities, both in terms of risk factors and biology.

The 2 Million Dogs Foundation chose this study for the following reasons. First and foremost it's translational in that people stand to significantly benefit as well as our canine companions.

Second, it's collaborative. The Canine Mammary Tumor program began at The University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Karin Sorenmo whom we met while walking through Philadelphia. Collaboration, we feel, is key if we plan to make significant strides in cancer research.

Third, the tissue samples were collected from shelter dogs diagnosed with breast cancer and they were all treated at no expense by UPenn as part of their program.

And finally, we feel that the approach of this study is novel not incremental and could potentially yield critical insights into metastatic breast cancer. 

While we have donated $50,000, 2 Million Dogs has pledged to raise an additional $30,000 this year to study more tissue samples.   Click here to help us raise the additional funds needed or contact for other ways you can help.

I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the many, many people who made this day possible. My family back in Texas, our supporters, fans, and friends both new and old, the hundreds of strangers that helped Hudson, Murphy and me get from Austin to Boston safely, the folks at 2 Million Dogs, and to Ginger Morgan, the Executive Director who has believed in my vision since the day we walked through Memphis. 

And finally to those who had the courage to always believe. God bless you.  Keep the faith and puppy up!


I remember standing atop Savage Mountain, the highest peak on the Rails-Trails from Pittsburgh to DC in August of 2009.  It was a glorious afternoon - a crystalline sky colored in an indescribable blue like the Frio River that cuts through the Texas hill country.  I wrote a poem about Malcolm entitled Savage Heart and I thought it incredibly ironic that this mountain was our highest hurdle.  

As I sat perched upon a rock, reflecting on our journey I could see for hundreds of miles.