On March 27th, 2001, we lost Blues to lymphoma. He was only six years old. He was the sun and moon and stars to us. He was our Smiling Blue Skies. It is hard to believe that over 16 years have gone by, since the founding of The Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund. Sometimes, it feels just like yesterday, and it takes my breath away. When we lost Blues, it became my passion and mission to support OVC Pet Trust's quest to find more and better ways to deal with and understand the complex and devastating disease that is Cancer. Together, we have raised nearly $1.8 million!!!
Smiling Blue Skies is not about one dog, one cat, or one person. It is about ALL of us.
I would like to share an old Hassidic tale with you, and it goes like this:
One day a Rabbi gazed through the window of his study which looked out upon the marketplace. People were hurrying to and fro, each attending to his or her own particular business. Suddenly the Rabbi saw a familiar face.
"Hikel!" he called. "Come in, I want to speak with you."
"Shalom, Rabbi, how are you?"
"Thank God, I am fine. Tell me, Hickel, what were you doing in the marketplace?"
"Oh, I'm very busy today. I have a lot of business to take care of."
"Hikel, asked the Rabbi, "Have you looked up at the sky today?"
"At the sky, Rabbi? No, of course not. I'm too busy to look at the sky."
"Hikel, look out the window and tell me what you see."
"I see people and horses and carriages, all rushing around doing business."
"Hikel, the Rabbi said, "in fifty years there will be other people in other carriages, drawn by other horses, and we will not be here. And Hikel, in a hundred years, neither the marketplace nor this town will even exist. Look at the sky, Hikel look at the sky!"
I like to think that all of us, never misses a look at the sky.
There is one very important thing I am sure of, and that is, if it wasn't for YOU, we would not be where we are today, reaching beyond the bluest skies and the brightest stars, to unleash some of the blackness that is "Cancer."
Thanks to you, the Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund and the Smiling Blue Skies Fund for Innovative Research has been able to fund a variety of exciting projects and promising studies. The University of Guelph is also the only Canadian institute to be part of the US National Cancer Institute's Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium, which places the University of Guelph's Institute for Comparative Investigation (ICCI) and the OVC Cancer Centre with 19 other academic oncology centres at the leading edge of cancer research in North America.
On a very personal note, it is so important to me, that Smiling Blue Skies continues to offer 24/7 support to anyone whose life has been touched by cancer. It doesn't matter where you live. We will try to help you in any way we can.
Smiling Blue Skies has evolved in so many ways over the past 16 years, and it would not have been possible without you. We are going places we never could have dreamed possible back in the spring of 2001. Right now, we are helping to fund 8 canine oncology studies, 6 oncology related studies, along with the research coordinator's position and the Tumour Bank.
The blackness dropped down again, on March 26th, 2016, when we lost Riley, to Hemangiosarcoma. Riley took care of me from the time he was 7 weeks of age. I loved him more with every breath he took. He took me places I never dreamed possible. We always had such wonderful support along the way, but it was Riley who taught me that we can soar, even when our wings seem clipped. He had the biggest heart and shared it with the world.
This is the second annual "Woof-fit Tofino," and I am very excited to be a part of it, and I am sure it will be an even bigger success this year, because of "YOU!"
I would really love your support, so that one day, we can all live in a world without Cancer. "Long live blue skies where Hope is a kite and dreams really do come true."
I wish you the best.