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Kathryn Everson

Saxa and I when she had

early stages of DM

My first dealings with DM were in 2013, when we received a call from our Pet sitter while we were away on holiday to say my Saxa had collapsed.  We flew home the next day to find Saxa very weak on her rear legs. After speaking with our Vet, who our sitter had called out, the condition Degenerative Myelopathy was mentioned and like most people, I had never heard of it.  She had become weaker on her legs, but we put this down to age and Arthritis.  10 years later, and this terrible disease has featured in almost every day of my life.  I sadly lost my beautiful Saxa in 2014 as she had a serious turn, not DM related, but I had to let her go just a month before her 14th Birthday.  Saxa was my very special 'heart dog' who had been through so much with me and I desperately wanted to find out more about DM, I read and researched lots, and joined the US based, DM Awareness FB Group in 2015. I had purchased a cart for Saxa, which I was amazed she had taken to even though she didn't get to use it for long.  After she had gone, I searched the UK for Cart loan companies and couldn't find any.  Through the DM Awareness group, I found the Cure4DM foundation in the US.  They had a 'Wheels Loan Service', so I made contact with them.

In 2016 I set up the UK branch of the 'Wheels to Help Me' loan service of donated carts for dogs with DM. From Saxa's cart and some amazing people who shipped their carts to me even from far away places such as Singapore and Hungary, it went from strength to strength and I now have over 70 carts, that have helped and are continuing to help dogs with DM. I went on to set up a FB group, 'The DM UK Fundraising group, to help spread Awareness about DM in the UK, raise funds for spares, repairs, DM research and shipping costs for the UK 'Wheels to Help Me' service. That same year I was invited to become the first UK based admin of the DM Awareness group.

 

Throughout these past 8 years I've gained a lot of knowledge about DM and important insights to what owners of dogs go through as they care for their beloved pups as well as their hopes and dreams for the future.   In 2019, I was invited to sit on the board of the Finding the Cure4DM Foundation taking on the role as Presdient in 2022. Sadly, the Foundation had to close in Feb 2023, but we had just donated a substantial sum to the DM Consortium for research into a new drug to help slow progression of DM.  All remaining funds were also donated to a large 501(c)3 organisation the AKC-CHF on the provision these funds would be put towards continued DM Research. Finding the Cure for DM, is not an easy task, there are still many unknowns about this insidious disease and research is expensive, but like many of the Volunteers before me, I will absolutely do my very best for every owner and DM pup going through this terrible disease now, or no longer with us, to work towards more education and awareness about DM, finding better treatments and ultimately a 'Cure4DM'

"My husband Graham supporting us by raising funds for DM through sponsorship and creating Awareness at various UK national Cycling events

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