Gifts in Action
Speckles Abdominal Cancer Campaign
A devastating loss of their beloved companion, Speckles, has led an anonymous donor to reach out to Winn Feline Foundation regarding a one-time sponsorship of future research.
Speckles was tragically lost to one form of abdominal cancer, carcinomatosis. Thus Speckles’ family wants their donation to fund new health studies leading to potential answers for the major cancers (lymphoma, carcinomas, and mast cell disease) of the “triad” in cats– the liver, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract. Pioneering studies regarding prevention, early diagnosis, pain management and treatment of major triad cancers will be encouraged.
The Winn Feline Foundation Board of Directors considers this gift an excellent opportunity for a “Gift In Action”. In other words, Winn will use this generous donation as a catalyst to raise additional funds over a short time period (crowdfunding) and we hope to turn one research project into two or three studies on abdominal cancer. None of the funds from the Speckles’ donation will be used for fundraising – only cancer research. Winn's and the donor's goal is for the gift in Speckles memory to benefit many more cats who face such overwhelming challenges.
Read about Speckles
Speckles C. Sandpaper adopted us when he was around a year old. Because we met him at a shelter, we had no idea what his life had been like when he was a kitten. As we got to know this tall, fuzzy, spotted and striped lovebug, we decided that he must have been born in a bakery, because he was so very sweet. In fact, he actually smelled like sugar cookies, which only backed up our theory.
Over the next few years, Speckles earned himself many nicknames, including “iron claws”, “magic cat”, and the kitty who’s “just a little bit wild”. He was a remarkably sweet and mellow lapcat, but also an amazing and courageous “fighter”. He would “rev up” and attack any string or teaser toys that dared to swing across his path with impressive finesse. However, he was very cuddly and gentle with his other favorite toys, including a catnip snowman and a stuffed animal pickle (no kidding). His claws and whiskers were much thicker than the average cat’s, and on the rare occasions when he meowed, it sounded like there was a dinosaur in the house. He surprised everyone with his ability to quickly learn and perform several tricks, including sitting at attention on his kitty condo, shaking your hand, and opening doors.
Speckles was a magical, regal, intelligent, easygoing, and loyal kitty. He had a generous and loving heart, and was very affectionate and appreciative to his adoptive human “guardians,” often purring on them, giving them “blinky kisses”, greeting them by the door, licking their feet, and following them around the house. It gave us so much joy to see how thoroughly he also enjoyed the simplest things, like lying in the sun, getting a little hairball gel, rolling around in catnip, and sleeping completely upside down with his paws in the air. Through the example he set for us, he taught us a lot about being more Zen, loving unconditionally, and being a kind and empathetic friend.
We always knew Speckles was a brave and unusual kitty, but his uniqueness became official when he was diagnosed around age 8 with an extremely rare condition called partial diabetes insipidus. Although we were worried, he rallied quickly with desmopressin shots and lived a normal life for another 3 years.
At ten and a half, Speckles was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. Because of how gracefully he had handled his desmopressin injections, we were confident that we could get his condition under control with insulin shots. For many months after being diagnosed, he continued with his normal kitty routine, and seemed happy as usual. Then, one day, he developed some GI issues and was diagnosed with pancreatitis. He became very lethargic and dehydrated, and rapidly declined over the course of the next week and a half. We worked very closely his vets (who were very knowledgeable and patient with us), but a substantial amount of fluid had accumulated in his abdomen in just a few days. The fluid samples came back negative for cancer; yet, an ultrasound showed what appeared to be cancerous lesions all over his abdominal lining (carcinomatosis of the peritoneum). We were shocked and heartbroken over his quick decline, because our courageous kitty had previously battled asthma, suspected IBD, diabetes insipidus, and diabetes mellitus all without blinking an eye, and had always remained very loving and content. We were completely devastated to have to let him go only 3 days before the 10th anniversary of his adoption.
Speckles inspired us to love all kitties and do our best to help them. We wholeheartedly wish we could prevent others from having to go through what we did with our sweet boy. This research fund is a step towards helping other cats who might have similar medical issues. So little is known about how to prevent and treat cancer in cats that even a small step forward can be a very important one. We hope that some of the knowledge gained from Speckles’ research fund will someday help prevent or treat cancer in someone else’s precious kitty.
Study sponsors: Furthering health study developments
With a donation of $250 or more, you (or your club, company or organization) can
sponsor specific health study projects. For example, BioMed Diagnostics, which produces transport culture media, generously sponsored part of grant W16-053 due to the need for improved Tritrichomonas foetus therapy.
Winn thanks the following sponsors for their
Download a donation form to mail or email.