When Terry Simons lost his beloved dog to lymphoma cancer in 2012, he decided to spread awareness about the disease to provide support and empowerment for others battling this cancer by creating CLEAR (Canine Lymphoma Education Awareness and Research) Foundation. In conjunction with his mission on November 7, he has been deemed National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day. In observance of this day, we are sharing Terry’s story and joining the mission of CLEAR. Read on to learn more about CLEAR and find out how you can make an impact this November 7.
Terry Simons & Reveille
Do a quick google search on Terry Simons and you will find that he is well known in the sport of dog agility and is a celebrated competitor, dog trainer, author, and animal activist. Beyond his accomplishments in the sport, one of his most notable achievements was the founding of CLEAR – a 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to educating dog owners about canine cancer.
CLEAR was inspired by the quality of life that his beloved Reveille led after her diagnosis of Lymphoma in 2011, and the lack of accurate information available regarding the disease despite it being fairly common among dogs. The mission of CLEAR is to increase awareness and understanding of canine lymphoma through clinical research and as a resource to dog owners interested in the prevention and treatment of this devastating disease.
After receiving Reveille’s diagnosis, Terry committed himself to navigate the obstacles to treatment and with the help of professionals Reveille lived a quality life, (which included competing in agility competitions) for a year and one week after her diagnosis. CLEAR was born with the hope of providing other canine owners access to the education and resources to lead quality lives after cancer.
Prevention and Detection
Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphocytes and is fairly common among dogs alongside cancer of the skin, bone, connective tissue, breast and mouth. Some dogs are genetically prone to cancer-based on their breed or family history so there is no way to absolutely prevent it, but there are things you can do to limit your dog’s exposure to unhealthy chemicals which may be linked with carcinogens. This means limiting contact with
- second-hand smoke
- chemical additives and preservatives in food
Like cancer in humans early detection is key. The sooner you notice symptoms of cancer the more likely treatment options will be successful. Since dogs can’t talk and express exactly how they feel or where it hurts it’s important to look for the signs. Here are a few early cancer symptoms.
- Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
- Sores that do not heal
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Bleeding or discharge
- Offensive odor
- Difficulty eating or swallowing
- Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
- Persistent lameness or stiffness
- Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecation
While these symptoms don’t always mean cancer, it is worthwhile to schedule a visit to the vet if you notice a combination of symptoms or concerning behavior.
How can you make a difference?
If you are moved by the mission of CLEAR and want to take action and make a difference this November 7th, here’s a couple of ways you can help.
Start in your community – Providing support for a family member, friend or neighbor who is battling canine cancer can make a difference. Simple acts of service such as words of encouragement, or even just a listening ear can go a long way.
Use your platform to spread awareness – We’ve all seen the power of social media. Use your platform to help make #CanineLymphomaAwarenessDay go viral. Share your story and engage in discussions to support and empower others who share their experiences. Encourage your friends and family to take steps for prevention and early detection.
Support a charity of your choice – in the fight against canine cancer, every dollar donated toward research goes can help advance treatment options. If you are unable to make a donation, volunteering is a great way to support a local charity.
This November 7, take a stand to fight the battle against Canine cancer.