13 YEAR OLD’S CLASS PROJECT FIGHTS CANCER IN DOGS AND PEOPLE
August 13, 2014
Franklin, MASS –
“Her name was Magic,” says 13-year-old Kimiya Kim.
“We were best friends. It was devastating when I lost her to cancer. One day she was active and playing around with me. The next day, she wouldn’t eat. She didn’t want to walk. We took her to the doctor’s office, and she never made it home.”
Kimiya’s beloved 8-year-old Bichon Frise succumbed to kidney tumors almost overnight—a senseless loss that affected Kimiya deeply.
Canine adenosarcoma is a rare, but incredibly aggressive form of cancer that affects a small percentage of dogs over the age of 8. The tumors grow rapidly, causing weight loss, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Diagnoses of all types of canine cancer, however, are growing at an alarming rate: statistically, fifty percent of older dogs now face the world’s deadliest disease.
In November 2013, Kimiya’s 7th grade teacher challenged her class to pick individual projects as part of a class effort to enhance community service. “Some people did a recycling project. Some made cards and went and visited the children’s hospital. No one had ever done a project related to animal cancer, so when I presented my idea, the class was very excited.”
Kimiya’s search for a project led her to the place most people go when faced with a helpless situation: the Internet. “I just became determined to help other people who have been affected by cancer, and who have had pets they’ve lost to cancer. My uncle was diagnosed with lung cancer, and he fought it–he’s in remission. I found the Puppy Up Foundation website and knew it was right for me.”
The Puppy Up Foundation funds a unique area of cancer research that has recently delivered critical information in the fight against cancer: comparative oncology. This specialized and woefully overlooked area of cancer research humanely studies the disease in dogs and how it is similar to cancer in humans. Since dogs get the same cancers as people, information about treatments and methods of prevention is applicable to both species.
In other words, a cure for dog cancer almost certainly ensures a cure for people cancer. Kimiya spent time reading the articles at Puppyup.org, and ultimately decided to host aPuppy Up fundraising walk in her hometown of Franklin, Massachusetts. What began as a seventh grade class project will culminate in some fifty people (and their dogs) walking to end cancer in two species. The walk will happen August 23, just days before Kimiya starts the eighth grade, and she’s the keynote speaker for the opening ceremony.
“Several people in my life have had cancer. I did this for them.”