Foundation Spotlight: The Big Dog Foundation

The Big Dog Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports charities which focus on dogs, children and dogs helping children. The Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation is the newest recipient of choice. The Childhood Brain Tumor foundation has been given permission by Big Dog Foundation and the family of Dash Dunbar to reprint the story that was released in the 1999 Special Holiday magazine. A big THANK YOU to Big Dog Foundation for helping pediatric brain tumor research.

Dash: The Big Dog of Super Heroes

Most children worry about imaginary monsters that live under their bed. Children with brain tumors worry about a real monster, the monster that lives in their head. Cancerous brain tumors are devastatingly real for far too many Little Big Dogs and their families. It is this most heartbreaking diagnosis that must demand the most ground breaking of treatments. In June, one of our little Big Dog Club members, 5-year-old Dash Dunbar for Mendocino, CA was dreaming of the carefree summer days ahead - soccer games, camping on the beach, trips to Disney land with his family.

Then without warning, without reason, Dash was struck down. The results of a CAT scan on June 25, 1999 would mark the day

Dash’s dreams shattered and his nightmare began. To the heartbreak of his family, Dash was diagnosed with brain stem cancer. In a moment, he was asked to trade his home for a barren cancer hospice, his soccer uniform for a hospital gown and his pizzas for mere sips of organic broth. Although far too young to understand his illness or why he was to endure such pain and punishment, Dash put his fear aside. With his family’s strength and encouragement, he searched deep inside and from his tiny, fragile soul, rose the courage of a warrior. Five days a week for six weeks, he struggled through hours of radiation therapy. Each day he took medicines with a brave face (and a few soury cringes). We can all learn a lot from this little Big Dog who knows Attitude is Everything. When asked his name, he is quick to respond, "Bond, James Bond." Dreams of becoming a Super Hero? Why not? We know he already is one. His family continues their worldwide search for the latest experimental medicines through clinical trials, which may be Dash’s only hope of growing up to be a Big Dog.

The Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation, the newest recipient of the Big Dog Foundation, funds the clinical research of childhood brain tumors. As recent as June 1999, new promising treatments are being discovered that may be able to prolong Dash’s life. These worldwide multidisciplinary teams of oncologists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, and geneticists are the paladins, the white knights, the slayers of dragon known as children’s cancer. It is only through donations from people like you, Top Dogs, that these doctors have a chance to save these Little Big Dogs from their enemy within. These promising new treatments are the sole chance for Dash, and so many others like him, to be able to grow up in a world where they can say, "there are no such thing as monsters."

Guide Dogs of America

Due to his weakening illness, Dash can no longer join his friends in active sports. To help him and friends enjoy playtime, the Big Dog Foundation gave him a Power Mac with computer games. When Dash expressed his lifelong wish for a German Shepard puppy, our other Foundation Recipient, Guide Dogs of America, An International Guiding Eyes Program generously donated a German Shepard guide dog puppy to Dash. On August 18, 1999 the Big Dog mascot presented Dash his computer and puppy, who Dash named "Thunderbolt." The Big Dog Foundation and Guide Dogs of America hope these gifts help Dash "Think Pawsitive" during this very difficult time.

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