Thank you for visiting the Riedel & Cody Fund website! I, like so many of you, have been through the horrible ordeal of dealing with cancer in a loved one. Whether it be a family member, friend, or pet we are all too familiar with the costly toll associated with a diagnosis of cancer.
When I found out that my 12 year old Rottweiler Cody had cancer I was devastated. Having been given to me by my mother, who has since departed, Cody was all that I had left from her. Losing her was not something I was prepared to do. I set out to do everything possible to help her, no matter what the expense.
For me there have always been three types of “expenses” associated with the treatment of cancer. There are the financial, time, and emotional expenses; each one of these, unfortunately having to be considered when making decisions relating to whether and how to treat a pet with cancer.
Being a part owner of the Veterinary Oncology & Hematology Center in Norwalk, CT, these were not decisions I needed to make alone. I had a team of the best doctors, with access to the best treatment modalities and, the latest in cutting edge clinical trials.
I was able to focus my attention fully on Cody’s care and deal solely with the emotional expense that now pressed so heavily upon me. I was able to do so without being weighed down by the burden of the other expenses—financial and time-- associated with her treatment.
Cody, unfortunately, had malignant histiocytosis and two other types of cancer. If she was to live beyond the one month life expectancy we knew more had to be done. She would need four forms of oncologic treatment; surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy. All while maintaining the highest quality of life possible.
Because of all I was able to do, Cody outlived her prognosis by almost 9 months-- something that few dogs with malignant histiocytosis ever do.
When Cody did finally pass in July of 2009, she was surrounded by people that loved her. She passed as she lived; with great dignity and grace--her gaze never leaving mine; her eyes filled with concern not over her own passing, but concern over the broken hearts that she left behind.
I set out to honor the most miraculous and marvelous dog I had ever known, but for weeks I was very much inconsolable, unable to hold back the tears. The memory of her gaze haunting me…
In a moment of support, Gerry, my partner, reminded me of how lucky I had been to be in a position of being able to do everything possible to help my beloved dog and that there were many people that could not afford the expenses associated with her treatment.
It was at that moment that I knew what I wanted to do to honor Cody. Although I could not help people with all of the “expenses” associated with cancer therapy, I could help them with the financial aspect of treatment. I could do this by creating a foundation that would raise money to help offset the costs of treating animals with cancer.
Mark Tillinger (co-founder), who had a similar experience, was a client of ours and did everything he could in the treatment of his beloved dog Riedel. We shared many philosophies in regards to our pets; each of us fully committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that our dogs had best treatment available and enjoyed the highest quality of life while undergoing therapy.
Mark’s obvious love for not only his own dog, but for all animals, had always moved me. With the passing of our pets only a few months apart we started sharing stories and experiences. Mark wished to anonymously fund the cancer treatment of a few of our less fortunate clients; further forging the bond between us.
We had lunch one day and talked about my idea to start a foundation. Since Mark shared the same passion for animals, and since he was already fulfilling the mission I had envisioned, he seemed like the perfect person to partner with. It was then that we agreed to start a foundation, one that gave others not as fortunate as us, some of the same opportunities that we had when we faced the challenges of dealing with a pet diagnosed with cancer.
With more than a significant amount of help from Mark, the Riedel & Cody Fund was born shortly afterwards.
Our foundation is not just about raising money. It is about giving knowledge and hope; about giving people the tools and the place to help one another. It is a community that embodies all the values that we should emulate from our pets; one of unwavering dedication and compassion. A community that we hope will connect people in need with those with generosity of heart and of spirit.
We sincerely hope you are such a person!
Co-founder, Cody's dad
Read Cody's story