CUMMING, Ga. — Destiney Warfield, 14, has been battling cancer since May 2013 when doctors found a tumor in her abdomen.
Every day, Warfield faced difficult physical and mental pain from her chemotherapy treatments.
The one thing that helped her through her daily struggles was the company of golden retriever Canine Companions service dog, Casper.
Now Warfield hopes she can have a service dog of her own.
Melody Abernathy wanted to make Warfield’s wish come true.
On July 16,, 2013, Abernathy lost her 5-year-old son, Will, to cancer.
In memory of her son, Abernathy wanted to create a nonprofit organization known as “Will’s WAG Wishes.”
“‘Will’s WAG Wishes’ was inspired by Will’s love for animals and the love and devotion that his boxer, Shelby, showed him during his entire cancer journey,” said Abernathy. “Shelby visited Will at Children’s Healthcare Scottish Rite for his admissions and was a devoted companion who comforted him during scary procedures like dressing changes, finger pricks and immune system boosting shots.
“Will also loved the golden retriever [from] Canine Companions that visited the hospital and wanted one of his very own,” Abernathy said.
Abernathy said the organization’s goal is to assist children nearing the end of cancer treatment and their families.
“Will’s WAG Wishes” would help give puppies to children to keep them company while they undergo cancer treatment. Abernathy hopes to make Warfield the foundation’s first recipient of a dog on Feb. 14 at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Because her idea for the foundation and Warfield’s wish both came about so quickly, Abernathy didn’t have enough time to establish the foundation.
Instead, she started by raising money through a crowd-funding website called GoFundMe.com.
Abernathy received a lot of support and raised $4,000 in funds, far exceeding her goal of $1,350 to purchase Warfield’s golden retriever, Bella.
“The extra funds will go to food and supplies for the puppy, training and the first year of vet bills,” Abernathy said. “Extra funds will also go toward expenses toward making Will’s foundation official and the next puppy wish.”