My Name is Buddy!

We believe there is no illness more pervasive than childhood cancer in its effect on both individual and family development. The new book, My Name is Buddy, will hopefully go far in helping young children come to understand just what having a brain tumor means.  Author Dave Bauer, human companion to Golden Retriever Buddy, has done a wonderful service by inspiring such a publication. It was made possible through a generous grant from the Candle Foundation, and can be obtained at no cost via the National Brain Tumor Foundation. Please feel free to share this information with your local schools and any families that may have an affected child.

In this interview from the National Brain Tumor Foundation, Dave Bauer talks about Buddy's experience with a brain tumor.

NBTF: When did you first notice Buddy was not feeling well?
Dave Bauer: About six months before his surgery, Buddy had a seizure while he was sleeping. It only lasted about fifteen seconds, so his veterinarian thought that it might be an early sign of epilepsy, which is common in Golden Retrievers. He subsequently had a seizure about every six weeks, always while he was asleep and lasting only fifteen to thirty seconds. Since they were infrequent and short, our veterinarian decided not to put him on medication. Suddenly one week, he had seizures three nights in a row, and then had problems standing up. We immediately took him to UC Davis Veterinary Hospital for a neurological examination.

NBTF: How did Buddy react after having his surgery?
Dave Bauer: I wasn't allowed to see him for two days after the surgery, but when I finally saw him, I was amazed at how happy he looked. He must have felt so much better now that the tumor was gone. My biggest challenge was keeping him quiet so that his stitches could heal. You could tell that he loved all of the attention from the doctors and nurses. They treated him like royalty and you could see that they really cared about him.

NBTF: What inspired you and Buddy to write a book?
Dave Bauer: Buddy was more than just a dog to me—he was my loyal companion. When I found out how seriously ill he was, I was devastated. I could only imagine how much more difficult it must be for parents to experience this ordeal with a child. The uncertainty of not knowing the final outcome, and the doubts of whether you had done everything that you could were extremely stressful. It was just before Buddy's surgery that I decided that when he recovered he would dedicate his life to helping those that were facing the same serious illnesses. My original idea was for us to visit seriously ill children and give them an autographed picture of Buddy to remember him by. I expanded on this idea to put together a book of pictures of Buddy's experiences to give the children something that they could read over again to give them courage and inspiration, but most importantly to make them laugh.

NBTF: How have children with brain tumors reacted to Buddy?
Dave Bauer: It didn't take long to realize that Buddy shared a special bond with the children he visited. Sometimes just the surprise of having a dog visit them in the hospital would make them smile and laugh for the first time in weeks or even months. Then when they discovered that Buddy overcame a tumor just like theirs, they just wanted to be with him as much as they could, perhaps because they shared a common bond of fighting a brain tumor. Our goal was that the children would be so impressed that a dog could beat a brain tumor that they would be motivated to fight even harder. On one visit Buddy sat with a girl for three hours because she didn't want him to leave her side during chemotherapy. As an added benefit parents who saw Buddy visit their children were cheered up to see that during the brief period that Buddy was with their children, they completely forgot the ordeal they were going through and just enjoyed that moment.

NBTF: What do you think is the most important message that Buddy has to share with children?
Dave Bauer: Buddy's book gives children the inspiration to fight brain tumors, But not only that, he also shows children how important it is to have support and love. Buddy's message to children is to have hope even when things are difficult. He would also tell parents and family members that their love is one of the most important components of their children's treatment.  

Dog Helps Kids Understand Brain Tumors

OAKLAND, Calif - When 9-year-old Buddy started feeling dizzy, nauseous and having headaches, a trip to the hospital revealed a brain tumor. Unfortunately, Buddy's experience is familiar to the roughly 2,900 children diagnosed with brain tumors each year. One small thing sets Buddy apart from those children. Buddy is a Golden Retriever. With the help of the National Brain Tumor Foundation, Buddy and his "dad,'' Dave Bauer, documented their journey through diagnosis and treatment in a children's book called, My Name is Buddy.
   
Brain tumors are on the rise in children, and they peak in young children from birth to age ten. This increase in rates means that more than ever children need age appropriate information this disease. In addition, it is expected that over 186,000 brain tumors will be diagnosed in the United States during 2002. Many children know and love someone who has been diagnosed. Reading My Name is Buddy with a child is a great way to start a conversation about a loved one's illness.
   
With photos of Buddy's experience, kid-friendly primary colors and simple sentences this charming book is an excellent resource for pre-adolescent children dealing with brain tumors. We get to see what Buddy looks like throughout his experience. We see Buddy's scar after surgery, radiation induced baldness and Buddy providing support for children with serious illnesses.
   
The National Brain Tumor Foundation (NBTF), a non-profit organization in Oakland, California, raises funds for research and provides support and information to patients and family members. As part of this effort, the NBTF will have a children's conference in conjunction with it's September 2002 National Brain Tumor Conference. The NBTF patient information line (800-934-CURE) and website, www.braintumor.org, receive more than 1000 inquiries each month requesting information and support.

Just click on me to read Buddy's Story!
We have reproduced the book here at the site so that folks can see just how marvelous a contribution it is. With 20 true-to-size pages, you will need to give the book plenty of time to load. Trust me, though, it is well worth the wait. To experience Buddy's special life-affirming story,
just click here!


 


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