Thursday, July 2, 2015

Caring Causes: Bentley Great Dane

The following is a story from my cousin, and I'm happy to help raise awareness of his efforts and this great story.

Five years ago our cousin, Chase, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (a rare bone cancer), one day after his ninth birthday. During the next few months Chase had chemotherapy treatments on a regular basis at Children’s Hospital in Omaha, NE. At the same time, Stacey (Malcom) Laib’s brother, Patrick, began training his Great Dane to be a therapy dog, with the intent to visit Chase at the hospital. Bentley, a harlequin Great Dane, was no ordinary dog that was in training. Bentley had grown so much over that year that he was in the running for the World’s Largest Dog. He missed out on the record by less than an inch, but he was awarded the record for the World’s Longest Dog Tail and is now the World’s Largest Therapy Dog. But while all this was going on Chase was able to complete his treatments before Bentley was ready to come visit him in Omaha.

So Patrick decided to put the training that Bentley had done to good use. He traveled around the country raising money and awareness for cancer research, with a focus on pediatric and canine cancers. He visited many hospitals and events around the country bringing smiles and a big surprise when Bentley would enter. 

From that experience of travelling and watching Bentley grow up, we have created an amazing children’s book. This illustrated book follows Bentley from a disappointing experience at the park with other dogs, to his owner having him volunteer at a hospital. In the end, Bentley realizes that being too big to fit in with the other dogs was an advantage when it came to entertaining the children.  Especially when he met a little boy named Chase that was very sad to be at the hospital. 

Bentley the Book, was created to bring a smile to all the children that read it, as well as give them the message that it’s okay to be different. As many pediatric cancer patients have trouble adjusting to life while being treated for their cancer. As they lose their hair, they are not able to attend school on a regular basis and must avoid many public events due to concerns of infection.

On Wednesday, July 1, 2015 we launched a campaign to raise the funds necessary for the production of the now completed, Bentley the Book. The intent is to produce and sell enough books over the next year to be able to donate one book to EVERY child that is diagnosed with cancer. Each year approximately 15,700 children hear the words you have cancer. We are working with a network of hospitals to have a book waiting for each child when they arrive for treatment.  

If you have a moment check out Bentley online, follow him on Facebook (Bentley GreatDane and Bentley's Children's Book) and BentleyTheBook.

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