Giving Tuesday 2023

Today your lifesaving generosity will be doubled! This Giving Tuesday, our board and leadership will be matching the first $10,525 to support our lifesaving Skyla Fund. The fund provides support to people so they can keep their beloved animals home where they belong, and out of an over-crowded shelter system.

Click here to learn how you can support FAAS's life-saving Skyla Fund!

Annie and her beloved rescue, Virginia Woof, a senior terrier mix known affectionately as Gigi, are an exquisite example of why the Skyla Fund is so vital.

A routine visit to the vet last month turned Annie’s life upside-down. The vet discovered a concerning spot in Gigi’s mouth. It would turn out to be cancer. Shortly after, another cancerous area was discovered in her mouth.

Without treatment, she might have only six months to live.

The news devastated Annie, who has limited income and can’t afford the thousands of dollars of radiation therapy that will give Gigi more time. 

Fortunately, Annie found FAAS and the Skyla Fund. With your support, we can help Annie secure ongoing medical treatment for Gigi. When you give your most generous gift today, it will be doubled to ensure the sustainability of this life-saving program, providing a safety net for others like Annie and Gigi.

We are blown away by Annie’s story, and we’d like to share it with you. She truly is an inspiration to us, and we think she will be to you as well.

Annie's nurse Lisa flicks a switch on Annie’s motorized wheelchair, and it makes a little beep. On hearing this, Gigi, who has been sleeping soundly on Annie’s bed, bolts up as if she hadn’t been sleeping at all.

She gazes at Annie for a beat, scampers down the steps from the bed to the floor, then waits there, eyes trained on her best friend and rescuer.

Gigi is right there for anything Annie does. When she can’t go out with Annie, she runs to the door and slides over to her in a flurry of wagging joy when she comes home.

Annie has a soft spot in her heart for senior dogs, especially those who have had a rough go of it.

“I feel a connection to the dogs who have been through a lot and are overlooked by so many people. I can relate to them,” Annie says as Gigi stares at her from her dog bed in the kitchen. “I know what it’s like to be told you can’t do this, or you’re not good enough.”

Annie was born with a rare condition called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a motor neuron disease. She wasn’t supposed to live past 3 years old. She’ll be 42 tomorrow (Happy Birthday, Annie!) She says many people don’t believe that someone with her limitations can do much. 

But Annie is one of those impossibly positive people whose spirit rubs off on anyone she encounters. She doesn’t dwell on things she can’t do. It’s all about what she can do.

She’s never walked, she’s had multiple surgeries, and she’s been on a ventilator day and night since her 20s. As the disease has progressed, she’s found workarounds that help her continue to engage with the world. Three years ago, she got an eye-tracking system that enables her to type. It took time to learn, but she now writes emails, texts, and even college papers using the technology.

Annie recently enrolled in an online college. She’s pursuing a double major: Criminal justice and graphic arts. She beams when she talks about the courses she’s taking, and what she’s learning. 

Cheering her on from the sidelines is Gigi. Gigi is there as Annie learns to do things like drag and click her computer’s mouse using her eyes (“it’s hard!” says Annie) as she gets familiar with graphic-arts software. The work is challenging, but Annie says it energizes her to see Gigi watching her as a best friend or proud parent might.

Annie’s resilience is part her makeup, but with Gigi at her side she feels twice as invincible. Your donation today can go twice as far, and help Gigi and other pets get the treatments they need to stay healthy, and with the person they love.

When Annie isn’t feeling well because of the myriad complications that go along with SMA, Gigi seems to know.

“She’s really in tune with me, and she knows how to make me smile and feel just a little better. She’s always there when I’m having a bad day.

“Until I found the Skyla Fund, I felt like I was failing her by not being able to get her the treatment she needs to stop her cancer from spreading. It was the most painful event I’ve had to endure in my life,” she says.

“More time with Gigi is such a gift,” says Annie. “It means the world to both of us.”

Click here to learn how you can support FAAS's life-saving Skyla Fund!






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