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Seven-year-old Mastiff rings inaugural ‘Cancer Bell’ at Texas A&M SATH
After finishing his final round of chemotherapy, the 210-pound rescue and his family celebrated by ringing the “BTHO Cancer” bell.
Last month, Texas A&M Small Animal Teaching Hospital (SATH) announced that Henry, a 7-year-old rescue Mastiff finished his final round of chemotherapy and was the first patient at the hospital to celebrate the end of his chemotherapy by ringing the hospital “BTHO Cancer” bell.
“The completion of therapy is always the most emotional day for our owners,” said Jaclyn Christensen, a veterinary technician in the SATH’s Oncology Service, in an organizational release,1 “The bell signifies that they’ve done it, they’ve hit this milestone and started a new chapter. Most owners feel pretty defeated by the cancer diagnosis, so this is an opportunity for us to turn their mindset around.”
Installed in April 2022, the bell celebrates and signify a milestone in a pet's fight against cancer when they complete radiation treatment or chemotherapy. The inspiration behind the bell came from human medical institutions with similar bells and was built by SATH technician Julio Peraza.
In Henry’s case, his owners, Robin and Derrick Newkirk noticed his lymph nodes felt swollen, so they brought him to SATH in October 2021. After some blood work and tests, the Newkirks learned Henry was suffering from multicentric lymphoma.1 With the shock of the diagnoses came another possible heartbreak to the Newkirks, Henry was most likely in stage 5, and SATH gave henry 4-6 weeks to live if he did not receive treatment.
Henry started treatment on November 1, 2021, and they continued to drive him to SATH once a week for 6 months. However, Henry fell into a small percentage of dogs that suffer side effects of treatment including gastrointestinal problems and infections. Despite the side effects, Henry’s lymphoma was gone in December after treatments and has not returned since then.
For the Newkirks, not only did the bell mark his official end of treatment, it celebrated all the hospital employees who worked with and grew to love the Mastiff.
“They love him so much there, truly love him. They have tears in their eyes when they talk about him,” Robin said in the release.1 “I know that when he goes there, Ashley’s (Wiley) going to sit with him on the floor and clean his ears at least every other week. And my husband says that the way Liz (Wood) puts her face up to his and nuzzles his forehead is just like what I do, even though she’s never seen me do it."
Texas A&M Veterinary Hospital celebrates patient successes with new cancer bell. News release. Texas A&M Small Animal Teaching Hospital. May 25, 2022. Accessed June 24, 2022. https://vetmed.tamu.edu/news/press-releases/henry-cancer-bell/