The story of one surprising breast cancer patient

It took Michelle Kallick years to consider and finally find the right dog to adopt. She could never have guessed that within three short months, she’d be treating her new dog for mammary cancer.

“I started calling breeders because I specifically wanted a rescue Labradoodle. Tawny had her last litter at six-years-old and had just been spayed. She was a very sweet dog, so it was a perfect match!”

A routine check-up and ear infection sent Michelle to her vet with Tawny.

“This particular vet was feeling Tawny for lumps because breeder dogs often get mammary gland tumors. Sure enough, she found some and two of the tumors and one of her lymph nodes tested positive for cancer. I decided to try treatment but told myself if she got really sick, I’d take her off.

But, she was fine! She basically had a mastectomy and lost 80% of her hair with the medicine, but she finished all five treatments and has been cancer free for two-and-a-half years!”

Unfortunately, Tawny was not Michelle’s first family member to battle breast cancer. Her mom, Arline Kallick, developed breast cancer at 36 years old when Michelle was only five. Thankfully, Arline also has enjoyed a full recovery and went to all of Tawny’s appointments as well.

“I love doing things with Tawny because she’s so easy to be with and gentle. When I first heard about the CosMedic Bark Walk for Breast Cancer, of course, my mom and I took Tawny! I just happened to meet Laura Sage at that first walk — I didn’t realize who she was at first — and between our history with our mothers and passion for the cause, I found The Lynn Sage Foundation to be a perfect fit for me to help!”

Michelle and Tawny have done more than just help. They’ve consistently been a top fundraiser each fall for the Bark Walk, raising $1,500 for the Lynn Sage Scholars’  breast cancer research over the past two years.

“When I’m fundraising, I always explain my unique connection to the cause. And The Lynn Sage Foundation is a unique organization. I explain exactly what the money is used for and what they do. I think it helps when people understand the organization. I send emails and definitely post on Facebook. You never know who will contribute!”

You also never know who you’ll meet along the way…
“Three years ago we met one of Tawny’s puppies, who happens to live in our building! Cooper and her owner, Annie, walked with us last year and will join us again this fall.”

Join Tawny and Michelle at this year’s Bark Walk for Breast Cancer hosted by CosMedic and Tails in the City. The walk will be held October 14th, 11am, beginning at 58 E. Walton Street. Registration is open!