Meet Mary Shillabeer, co-organizer of the Smiling Blue Skies Calgary Walk for Canine Cancer.

“Every dollar raised is because of the tears we have shed for the dogs we have lost.  It is so incredibly hard when we lose them.  All we have is hope that better diagnostics and treatments can be discovered through research. That is why I have supported the Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund at OVC Pet Trust, for so many years. With each loss, and the loss of friends’ dogs, I have felt a profound need to “do something”. Thanks to Suzi Beber and Smiling Blue Skies, I have that opportunity. By raising funds, my hope is that we can find treatments and cures for the cancers that are taking our beloved pets far too soon. The knowledge gained through studies financially supported by the Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund is shared with human research, for the benefit of our four AND two legged loved ones.  

The Calgary walks have been incredibly successful.  Each year we attract a modest 25-32 walkers. We may be small, but we are mighty!  Since 2010, we have raised an incredible $341,000!  The reason?  Because of the strong connection people have developed with Suzi Beber.

I now live on Vancouver Island, but I will be flying out to attend the walk this year, to celebrate 20 years of “Smiling Blue Skies Walk for Canine Cancer” in Calgary.  This fund is near and dear to my heart. I am honoured to be associated with the Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund at OVC Pet Trust, because of my gratitude to Suzi, who has supported me in my deepest moments of despair. Please join me in making a difference, for the benefit of our dogs, and us.

For our dogs that we have lost… In memory of Roxy (mast cell cancer), Carling (likely hemangiosarcoma), Denver (hemangiosarcoma), Boon (prostate cancer), Spy (cholangiocellular carcinoma – bile duct cancer), Keener (T cell Lymphoma in her GI tract) and wee Gusto…our only dog that did not die of cancer.”

Meet Leanne Tucker, co-organizer of the Smiling Blue Skies Calgary Walk for Canine Cancer.

“If you know me, you know that I have a passion for Golden Retrievers. They are such beautiful loving creatures with a joy for life and hearts of gold. Unfortunately these amazing dogs are so very prone to developing cancer. 

My first Golden Retriever, Kroosh, died at 8 years of age of Lymphoma in 1998.  He was my best friend growing up and introduced me to dog shows and obedience trials. He truly had a heart of gold and was loved by all who knew him. Following the heartbreak of losing Kroosh, Jinx came into my life. He too was a beautiful, loving big red boy. He taught me so much during his life, yet cancer took him from me all too soon. Jinx died at 9 years of age of Hemangiosarcoma (tumour of the spleen). Hemangiosarcoma is the silent killer, by the time the dog shows symptoms… it can be too late. OVC Pet Trust is working on a simple blood test for early detection so that treatment may begin before it has spread. 

Sadly, I lost my beloved Cedar (May 2017) and Puzzle (last October). They were my everything and not a day goes by that I don’t think of them. I was lucky to not lose Puzzle to cancer, but it still hurts nonetheless and I add a dog to my “list” – and that list of my own and friends that have lost dogs keeps growing.

One hundred per cent of the money raised through our walk goes to OVC Pet Trust’s quest to find more and better ways to deal with cancer.

Scrabble (age 10), Rip (almost 2), Jumble (5 months) and I will be walking on Sunday, May 7 in the Smiling Blue Skies Calgary Walk for Cancer for those that have lost their battle and for those who should never have to battle cancer.

In the last several years many of my friends lost their beloved Goldens to Cancer. This year I will be walking not only for Kroosh, Jinx, Cedar & Puzzle but also for all my friends that have lost their beloved friends to cancer as well.”

Thank you, Mary and Leanne, for sharing and giving back!

The 20th Smiling Blue Skies Calgary Walk for Canine Cancer is May 7, 2023.