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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’ Story

His Life

Speckles_kittycondo-2-webSpeckles 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.

His Challenges

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.

Our Hope

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.

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Grant Number Donor Name Donation Amount
W12-026 Linda Horn 250.00
W12-026 Mr. David De Gil 250.00
W12-026 Ms. Astrid Sanai 250.00
W12-026 Susan E. Gingrich & James Shurskis 250.00
W12-026 Dr. Jessica Good 250.00
W12-026 Ms. Tracey Tranen 250.00
W12-026 Ms. Pam Harting 2,000.00
W12-026 Ms. Sandra Ellis 1,500.00
W12-026 Mr. Brian Wilson 250.00
W12-026 Mr. Larry Johnson 250.00
W12-026 Savannah Cat Chat Forum 625.10
W12-026 Miss Laura Trefil 250.00
W12-026 Ms. Sandra Ellis 1,500.00
W12-026 Ms. Valerie Brownell 250.00
W12-027 Dr. Monica Knopf 250.00
W12-027 Ms. Darlene Campbell 250.00
W12-034 Dr. Kelly Baxter 250.00
W12-034 Ms. Karyn Baker 250.00
W12-034 Leigh Hourihane 500.00
W12-027 Sarah Witmer 250.00
W12-039 Dr. Marcus Brown 250.00
W12-039 Mrs. Ellen Castillo 500.00
W12-039 Ms. Katharine Stryker 250.00
W12-039 Ms Susan Clarkson 1,000.00
W12-039 G. Julian Perz 200.00
W12-039 Pet Memorial Services 300.00
W12-039 Mr. & Mrs. Duane Phillips 300.00
W12-039 Ms. Krista Jacobs 250.00
W12-039 Colleen M. McGrady 250.00
W12-039 Dr. Georgia Arvanitis 250.00
W12-039 G. Julian Perz 250.00
W12-039 Colleen M. McGrady 250.00
W12-039 Mr. Duane Lacock 250.00
W12-039 Mr. & Mrs. Bill Castillo 500.00
W12-040 National Birman Fanciers Cat Club 250.00
W12-040 Dr. Cynthia Larson & Mr. Curtis Gabbard 100.00
W12-040 Betty White 100.00
W13-012 Ms. Karyn Baker 250.00
W13-012 Dr. Joanna Bowyer 250.00
W13-012 Leigh Hourihane 250.00
W13-012 American Association of Feline Practitioners 4,010.30
W13-012 Ms. Wilma Van Scoyk 1,000.00
W13-020 Ms. Sandra Ellis 2,000.00
W13-020 Ms. Lorna Friemoth 500.00
W13-029 Ms. Colleen M. McGrady 250.00
W13-029 Ms. Nina Israel 250.00
W14-018 Mr. Masumi Nakamura 250.00
W14-018 Mr.  JF Richards 635.00
W14-018 The New Culture Club, TICA 1,000.00
W14-018 Jason Stout 500.00
W14-018 Miss Veronique Fricke 450.00
W14-018 Ms. Valerie Ware 250.00
W14-018 Greg Evenson, PhD 250.00
W14-018 Jacqueline Mathieu 500.00
W14-018 Ms. Sandra Ellis 2,000.00
W14-018 Ms. Andrea Balcerski 250.00
W14-018 Garden State Cat Club of NJ,INC. 250.00
W14-039 Mr. & Mrs. Bill Castillo 500.00
W14-039 Dr. Georgia Arvanitis 1,000.00
W14-039 Art for Cat's Sake 2,500.00
W14-039 Mr. Duane Lacock  250.00
W14-039 Ms. Susan Clarkson 1,000.00
W14-042 Mr. Jason Stout  500.00
W14-042 Mrs. Deborah Christensen  300.00 
W14-042 Garden State Cat Club of NJ Inc  250.00 
W14-042 Art for Cat's Sake  1,500.00 
W15-001 Leigh Hourihane 250.00 
W15-001 Art for Cat's Sake 1,500.00 
W15-001 Mrs. Vickie L. Fisher  7,000.00 
W15-001 Garden State Cat Club of NJ Inc  250.00 
W15-010 Anonymous 13,970.00 
W15-010 Anonymous 1,000.00 
W15-026 Ms. Loretta Bartolucci  250.00 
W15-026 Mrs. Susan Gingrich  125.00 
W15-026 Deborah K. Jesson  125.00 
W15-026 Marsha Stanton 250.00
W15-030 Ms. Loretta Bartolucci 250.00
W15-030 Mr. Stephen George 250.00
W15-030 Deborah K. Jesson 250.00
W15-001 Leigh Hourihane 250.00
W15-030 Stephanie & Marc Ackerson 250.00
W15-030 Ms. Christina Fama-Keane 250.00
W15-030
Lena Gubarev 250.00
W15-030
Monica Brigden 390.00
W15-001
Dr. Monica Knoff 250.00
W16-034 Atlantic Himalayan Club 2,005.00
MT15-016
Sue Robbins (Friend of grant) 350.00
MTW16-018 Dr. Karen Becnel 2,500.00
W16-023 Ruth Ann Branoff 250.00
W16-023 Debbie Statland 250.00
MTW15-017 Linda Sellaro 250.00
 W17-031 Mr. John DeGregory  250.00 
 W16-023 Ms. Lee Genet 400.00
 W17-031  Dr. Jane Brunt 250.00

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 2017, sponsorship can potentially prevent cancer in cats, improve diagnosis for feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and advance the human-cat bond by improving relationships between families of children with autism and cats.

Winn thanks the following sponsors for their support:

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