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Thank You

This blog post is dedicated to all of you: our friends, family and followers.

To anyone who has ever liked or commented on a photo I’ve posted on Instagram or Facebook. If you’ve told a friend about our blog or social media accounts or our bicycle journey. Perhaps we’ve met on the trail, battling the winds together in Patagonia.

I am writing to all of you who told me to join certain Facebook groups or follow specific Instagram accounts. This is for the amazing brands we work with, who have supported and brought attention to our adventures.

For kismet, one of my favorite words, who told me to participate in a pet blogger’s Facebook group last week, which led to a board member from the Brodie Fund to take interest in our case, ultimately leading to a generous grant in the name of Sora.

Because of your shares or likes or comments on social media, because the Universe put us in the same place at the same time, because you share our love of animals or the outdoors, we have generated this amazing network of individuals who show us every single day the depths of generosity and good in this world.

Forty-six of you donated to Sora’s GoFundMe campaign.

In just 13 days, we raised the $2000 we needed to cover for Sora’s electrochemotherapy treatment.

I didn’t even have to work that hard. I posted once on Instagram and once on Facebook. That’s it. No updates. No group emails. Just two posts.

I watched as the number ticked higher toward our goal. I read every single one of your comments, your words of encouragement for Sora. Our hearts overflowed with pure gratitude each time we saw another donation come in.

I know that not all of you were able to make a donation, and that is OK. Your comments on Instagram or Facebook and your support throughout Sora’s cancer ordeal have lifted our spirits. It is a truly humbling feeling knowing there are literally thousands of you who are cheering Sora on from all corners of this small world.

We cannot even begin to thank you.

Two short words seem so little for the tremendous amount of appreciation we feel for all of you.

Sora’s Cancer Story

Before departing on our European bicycle tour in 2015, we noticed a black growth emerging from Sora’s right paw. Our veterinarian said it was nothing to worry about, just a corn.

But then it grew.

And then it started to bleed. So we took her to a vet in a small town in Germany, where it was recommended that we have it surgically removed.

The biopsy showed that the growth was indeed cancer. A nerve sheath tumor. Very localized, but with a strong propensity to return again.

A year later, just a day after learning that our cat back at home had bone cancer, we noticed a familiar lump in the exact same spot. This time, we were in Chile, again in a small town.

Like the previous time, we had the tumor surgically removed and began to expect that this cancer would just return on an annual basis.

Eighteen months later, back at home in the US, we noticed a large lump growing on Sora’s right wrist, the same leg as her two prior tumors. We monitored it and watched it grow with voracity.

Back to the vet we went. An aspiration revealed that, once more, we found ourselves facing cancer. A hungry, aggressive cell taking over her leg.

Surgery removed the majority of the cell, but due to its location and jellyfish-like shape, the doctor was not able to remove it entirely.

We were referred to an incredibly talented oncologist nearby who performs electrochemotherapy, a relatively new type of cancer treatment practiced widely throughout Europe, but very little in the US. This particular center was the first of its kind on the west coast.

On Monday, Sora heads in for her first of two therapy treatments. She’ll spend half a day there and then come back to us like her usual self, or close to it. Three weeks later, we’ll go for round two, and hopefully, that will be that.

We know that, as we walk through the doors to the treatment center, all of you will be following behind us, cheering Sora on with your collective thoughts, positivity, healing juju, spirit fingers, prayers, and most of all, your love.

The love you have for Sora, a dog whom most of you have never even met astounds us. When we started our blog and the accompanying social media, I never expected to gain a beautiful community as a result. I never thought that we would meet lifelong friends during our time bicycling in South America.

We almost didn’t ask for your help. It felt selfish to us, when so many others with less are suffering. Ultimately, we chose to be vulnerable and request your donations. The enthusiasm with with you came forward during our time of need generates a gratitude unlike any I’ve felt before.

Thank you.

With profound love,

Jen, Dave, & Sora

Jen Sotolongo

Hello! I'm Jen. I'm a writer, photographer, dog mom, and outdoor enthusiast. When I'm not writing about awesome ways to get outside with your dog, I'm probably out for a long trail run. I also fancy myself a pretty decent vegan cook, and am always happy to whip up a batch of cookies for friends. I am based in the Pacific Northwest and I never leave home without my dogs.

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