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Photo: Sisters Forgo Birthday Gifts in Effort To Raise Money To Cure Canine Cancer

Child Crusaders Support Morris Animal Foundation's Canine Cancer Campaign

in Celebration and Memory of a Loved Dog

DENVER, Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Three years ago, 11-year-old Courtney Frost of Greensboro, N.C., gave up birthday presents. Instead, she asked friends for donations to honor the Frosts' family dog, Sampson, who had died of cancer. Leah Frost soon followed in her big sister's footsteps, and the two became crusaders against canine cancer. They donate their birthday "gifts" to Morris Animal Foundation's Canine Cancer Campaign, which is working to cure this disease in the next 10 to 20 years. The sisters' hope is to honor Sampson and to make the world a better place for all dogs and the people who love them.

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Sampson, a Labrador-shepherd mix, was a gift from a neighbor whose dog had delivered 11 puppies. To Courtney and Leah, Sampson was the world's best brother. From the start, he was very protective of the girls, standing like a sentinel next to their strollers.

"Sampson was our first child -- baby number one," says Sandy Frost, the girls' mother.

Born with severe hip problems, Sampson had a hip replacement at one and a half years old. The Frosts built him a ramp so he could get in and out of the house. The first signs of cancer appeared when Sampson was 13. The Frosts sought out the best cancer care possible, but when Sampson didn't respond to medical treatment, they brought him home. When he stopped eating, they knew it was time to say good-bye.

After Sampson's death, the Frosts received a memorial card from their veterinarian celebrating the dog's life. The veterinarian had contributed to Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) on Sampson's behalf, with the donation going toward research to protect, treat and cure animals.

Shortly after Sampson's death, Courtney asked her mother about MAF. Her mother explained that MAF funds research to protect, treat and cure animals, including those suffering from cancer. In 2007, the nonprofit launched a canine cancer campaign that is funding research to help prevent the disease and to treat dogs suffering today. The work is also helping humans with cancer, including children.

So, Courtney decided donations to MAF would make the perfect gifts for her birthday.

"I decided to give money to Morris Animal Foundation to cure cancer because I don't want other people and animals to go through what we did," Courtney says. "I keep giving to them in hopes that they can find a cure for all cancers for dogs and people."

Last year, when Leah turned 11, she also requested donations from her friends for MAF in lieu of birthday gifts.

"I want our new dog, Jake, and other dogs to be healthy and not suffer from cancer," Leah says.

Now when birthday time rolls around, Courtney and Leah send a special donation form with their party invites. The best part of their birthdays is tallying up the donations and sending the gift to MAF. Next, the sisters plan to distribute MAF posters to their school and veterinarian's office to help educate others about the organization.

"We are truly grateful for Morris Animal Foundation and the work they do. Pets are members of families, and no one should have to say good-bye to a family member due to cancer. Research for humans and animals alike is important to help all live a long healthy life," says the girls' mother.

To learn more about MAF's Canine Cancer Campaign and how you can help, go to Media interviews with the Frosts are available by contacting Heidi Jeter, 800.243.2345,

About Morris Animal Foundation:

Morris Animal Foundation, established in 1948, is dedicated to funding animal health research that protects, treats and cures companion animals and wildlife. MAF has been at the forefront of funding breakthrough research studies benefiting animals in some 100 countries, spanning all seven continents. MAF has its headquarters in Denver. The Foundation has funded nearly 1,400 humane animal health studies. Charity Navigator ranks MAF as a four-star charity, the highest rating. For more information, call 800.243.2345, or visit


Heidi Jeter


SOURCE Morris Animal Foundation
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