Foundation gives pet-loving family hope despite heartache
Jan Deboeuf-Borders and Jeff Borders have a bustling household of furry friends, and a family with plenty of love to go around. As life-long animal lovers, the family has known the joys associated with having lots of four-legged “fur kids” sharing their lives.
Their golden retrievers, Emma-Rose, Gertie-Bee, and Pippa-Lily, live a happy life with their feline friends, Tess and Mamie. Together, the family has experienced the highs of being pet parents, but the heartaches of pet cancer as well.
Jan and Jeff where were among the first to enroll their dogs Gertie-Bee and Pippa-Lily in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, one of the largest and longest running studies of its kind in the world.
“It means a lot to me to be a part of something that could possibly help in the diagnosis, treatment, and cure for cancer in these beautiful animals,” said Jan.
Jan and Jeff’s daughter, Jordan, also is participating in a cancer treatment trial. Jordan’s cat, Oyl, was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, and is enrolled in a Morris Animal Foundation-funded research project at the University of Illinois. When Jordan heard from the oncology team at the university that Morris Animal Foundation had a study in progress and asked her if she would like to join, Jordan gave an unequivocal yes.
Like her parents, Jordan is excited to be an active participant in research that could potentially help both cats and dogs with cancer. Oyl is doing well, and Jordan is ecstatic that Oyl is currently cancer free.
Oyl is one of the lucky ones. Each year, about 12 million cats and dogs are diagnosed with cancer. The Borders understand the cruelty of the disease, and the anguish it causes. This fall, the family lost two dogs to cancer within 10 days of each other.
A strong bond exists among all members of the Border family, people and pets alike. And, like any resilient family, they stick together through the tough times, including facing cancer. The Borders’ wish is that they can make a difference in the lives of other families and their pets through their study participation.
“Being a part of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is a way of giving back,” said Jan. “We are so proud to play even a tiny part in the work to possibly prevent others from some of the heartbreak our family has experienced.”