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. 


Solitude.Peace said...

Congratulations & Thank You!

Anonymous said...

Dear Luke:
A WONDERFUL day for you and for all of the people behind 2 Million Dogs! So very happy to have been a small part of this monumental day! I hope you have a terrific sense of accomplishment today as well as a flood of wonderful and happy memories of your Malcolm and Murphy!!
This is just the beginning of the great things you will do!
Sending you love and a big big hug tonight.
Also, would like to express thanks and congrats to all the people behind you and believing in you and your mission.
Love, Patty Gartmann

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Hopefully someday the evil monster will be a distant memory.
Love from a Dog Mom who has lost a special soul to the evil monster.