The 14th of every month holds special meaning for Cera Reusser. That’s the day that the founder of Chase Away K9 Cancer has designated “Check Your Dog Day.” Every 14th, Reusser runs a directed social media campaign championing early cancer detection to remind dog owners to keep an eye out for cancer by thoroughly checking dogs for lumps, bumps, or anything out of the ordinary. And every 14th, Reusser has reminders of her own that deserve attention.
In 2006, after the untimely and devastating loss of her companion black Labrador, Chase, Reusser decided she wanted to do something to help. The best way that she knew how was to start at the beginning—with education on two fronts: others on cancer, and herself and the world on cancer research. Chase Away K9 Cancer was born.
“We’re a grassroots effort,” says Reusser. “I don’t know if this is the right way to help, but it’s what I can do to help.”
The right way to which she’s referring is the provision of donation-based funding for cancer research studies. Reusser mobilizes volunteers with Chase Away’s mere presence.
“The biggest thing Chase Away K9 Cancer is is a group of volunteers.”
“Most people who have joined are going through a loss,” Reusser says. Those people approach her with fundraising ideas, many of which involve sporting events like Dock Dogs, Frisbee, or agility competitions. (At Dock Dogs events today, Chase’s beloved and talented granddaughter, Elsie May, wears a donation vest in between her turns rocking the waters. “Every little kid wants to hand her dollar bills,” says Reusser.)
One hundred percent of the money collected through these efforts goes
toward funding approved studies through the National Canine Cancer Foundation. Reusser has a medical advisor on her team to assist her in choosing only the most legitimate studies, and she follows her choices through. To date, Chase Away’s donations have funded 12 research efforts, and volunteers have no plans to slow down.
Because her main goal is to educate and bring awareness to the importance of early detection and research support, Reusser welcomes any and every fundraising endeavor, from Facebook campaigns to Vermont dog walks. (Vetri-Science is currently sponsoring a social networking campaign to raise $500 for Chase Away, giving away one dollar per new Facebook like!)
The beauty of the organization is encompassed in those types of efforts. Chase Away K9 Cancer is a tribute and a support group, a blog post and a doggy kissing booth. “Chase Away K9 Cancer” Reusser says, “is anything anybody can dream up.”