Being sick is never fun. But Max, a lovable Lab, tries to lighten the heavy
burden of cancer patients and beyond with his pawsome personality.
Patients at the Marshall Cancer Center in Cameron Park are experiencing
some relief with canine companion Max, a hypoallergenic 3-year-old Labradoodle
with a beautiful mocha colored coat and brown eyes. He has wandered the
halls brightening the spirits of the patients he sees for the last two
years. He loves to greet everyone with a happy disposition and a wag of the tail.
Peggy Hatley has been a patient for some time at the center. Hatley first
found out she had cancer 15 years ago, but that doesn’t stop the
soft spoken Alabama native (now residing in El Dorado Hills) from having
a wonderful demeanor and looks forward to seeing Max.
“I have a Lab at home … I love dogs. I always try to say hello
to him every time he comes in,” she said with a smile.
Images of Hope Foundation founder and Director of Cancer Services Wendy
Goossen said the facility improves lives.
The cancer center is impressive and welcoming, well lit and bright. A tree
of life, complete with all four seasons and forest animals in a beautifully
painted tree, adorns one of the walls of the infusion center for those
who have passed away from cancer.
Beanies and wraps are hand-made for the center and offered to patients,
as well as a wig or hat if they prefer.
“We have patient navigators and social workers. We also have two
cancer specialists that set up rides for people and a car that we use
to bring patients here from home. We drive the wheels off of it all day,
every day,” said Goossen.
Since Feb. 9, the Marshall Foundation for Community Health has asked internet
surfers visiting its Facebook and Instagram sites to post pictures of
their fur babies and make a donation in their name to the Marshall Medical
Center pet therapy program.
“Contributors to the Give2theMax campaign can use a GoFundMe page
to replenish the Max Fund,” said Mark DeVaughn, public relations
for Marshall Medical Center.
The Max Fund was launched in 2015, with its initial funding from Wells
Fargo. The foundation, DeVaughn said, has enlisted younger volunteers
to donate and promote the great cause.
“Spearheading the drive are the Marshall Junior Volunteers, a force
of nearly 60 high school students who assist hospital visitors and provide
clerical help at the various Marshall departments,” he said. “Quality
of life is so important in battling this disease, and Marshall Medical
is committed to healing.”
Karen Good, foundation director, said the Marshall Foundation for Community
Health, which started in 1974, supports the Medical Center and the community.
” We put up to $1.7 million back into the community. We have donors
that contribute to us, and with those generous gifts go to the programs,”
The animal assisted therapy (the Max Fund) is one of those programs.
“It allows us to do pet therapy at Marshall Hospital and the cancer
center. (Seeing Max) is the difference between a good and a bad day,”
Good said. “They have done studies on the effects of dogs with patients,
and have found that sometimes there can be a 82 percent reduction in symptoms,
so its huge. It’s just a perfect thing for our patients to help
them to heal and get back to a normal life.”
Looking to the future, Good hopes add more furry friend for the animal
assisted therapy program, and hopes to reach out to veterans with PTSD
through the program.
“That is one of our goals; we do realize the impact is huge upon
veterans. Being the patriotic citizens that we all are, we are very interested
in getting into that field,” Good said. “It’s part of
the reason we launched the Give2theMax campaign, so we could do more with