It’s really hard to believe I first knew about this Cleveland Heights family in April 2003, a year after Olivia’s diagnosis, when mom contacted me about a service dog for Olivia. It wasn’t like Olivia needed a whole lot of direction. She and Charlie bonded easily and well due to Olivia’s natural grace and charm and he was available to comfort her during her sometimes difficult journey including hospital visits and down times.
Anna Crowley, Olivia’s sister, wrote the following:
By Anna Crowley (age 12)
1. Q: Who is Olivia Crowley?
A: Once upon a time Olivia was a healthy seven-year-old girl. She was the kind of person who could make someone smile or laugh easily. She loved to play soccer, read the Harry Potter series and play with her sister and friends. I am her sister.
2. Q: When did Olivia first have signs of cancer?
A: When Olivia was seven she began having back pains which when checked were found to be cancer. Olivia was treated at Rainbow Hospital, Sloan Kettering and St. Jude’s in Memphis. But even when she was being taken around the country Olivia kept her sense of humor and beautiful spirit.
3. Q: How and when did you meet Charlie, your Golden Retriever?
A: A year after Olivia was diagnosed with cancer we met Rachel Friedman of A Better Pet LLC who helped us in finding Charlie. He was bred as a service dog and with Rachel’s training Charlie was able to go with Olivia just about anywhere – including the clinics and her doctor appointments.
4. Q: What does Charlie mean to you and your family now?
A: Olivia Crowley died when she was only ten. But Charlie remains an important part of our family. We take walks with him every day. He cheers us up with the memories he reminds us of.
So please, help be part of the solution, a cure for childhood cancer — either with your presence or donation. And if you join my team, bring along your dog. Team A Better Pet is the only team with legitimate dog participants! Every dollar counts. I hope to see you there.
NOTE: Free leash manners session available to interested participants the day before the walk in Cleveland Heights. Buy a Har-Vest for the walk and $15 from each purchase will go towards curesearch.