• Debbie Safran

Cancer, cancer, go away!

One year ago, to the day, came confirmation of what we already suspected. Dylan had osteosarcoma.

He’d been limping, off and on, for a while. We did all the things you’re supposed to do—check for lumps and bumps, talked to the vet, get bloodwork done, get x-rays done. All the things we learned after Ellie’s osteosarcoma diagnosis in 2016. And Dingo’s, at the end of 2011.

But cancer is a nasty little bugger who plays by its own rules.

X-rays remain the best way—and as far as I can tell, the only way—to diagnose osteosarcoma. Dylan knew something was wrong last spring. For months, he had told us something was wrong. But each time we did bloodwork, it came back perfect. And a microscopic tumor doesn’t show up on an x-ray. (Yes, we had his leg and spine x-rayed multiple times.)

So we thought it was “this” and we thought it was “that.” The vet gave us “this” to help and the vet gave us “that.” Until finally…September 5, 2019. The tumor was finally large enough to reveal itself.

Surprised? No. Heartbroken? Of course. We knew the next steps—Dylan was an excellent candidate for amputation and chemo, so that’s the route we took. And on September 11, our vet took Dilly-do’s right hind leg.

If you were at last year’s Chase Away 5K, you may recall an uncomfortable tripod greyhound in dinosaur jammies and a Chase Away K9 Cancer donation coat. He, like many of us, wasn’t so thrilled with the weather (so we took him home early). I was hoping he’d be a better, happier donation dog this year. I was hoping he’d be around to still *be* a donation dog this year.

He is. He’s happy and playful and full of himself, as always. (This guy has an ego a mile long. Good thing he’s also super-sweet!) But COVID is also still here.

It’s not safe to gather in large groups—and we Chase Away 5Kers love to gather. The event lost its venue, and no one was sure what the fall would bring in terms of infection rates. An in-person event was simply not feasible.

Virtual runs, I admit, are significantly less fun. I love seeing all of you and meeting your dogs and hearing your stories. And I know you love seeing each other and swapping your dog stories. The last nine years have been an absolute blast and I had big plans for this, our tenth year running.

It will happen. Next year.

In the meantime, we’re all doing what we can. Cancelling the event completely is not an option. There is still too much cancer in the world to let our little fundraiser take a year off.

So, sign up. Run any day this October. Choose the day, the time, the route. Challenge yourself or take it easy. No judgement, just fun. Take and take pre- and post-run pics, and share them on social media so we can celebrate together. (Use #ChaseAway5K and #ChaseAwayK9Cancer so we can all easily find each other.)

The first 250 runners will get, along with their bibs and poop bags, a Chase Away K9 Cancer reusable cloth face mask because 2020. And all runners who upload their times will be entered to win some prizes from our virtual prize table. It won’t be the same, but it’s something. And it can still be something great.

“See” you at the Chase Away and see you next year!



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