On January 7, a brave California native battling brain cancer lived out a fantasy thanks to family, friends and a big pile of puppies from Sacramento’s public animal shelter!
28-year-old Courtney Gessford was diagnosed with a lemon-sized brain tumor three-and-a-half years ago. In that time, she has endured three brain surgeries, radiation treatments, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.
Throughout her debilitating migraines and gruelling treatments, Gessford has taken comfort in Clyde, her family’s dog. In fact, she and her friend, Maris Loeffler decided that if snuggling with Clyde was good medicine, being smothered in a warm, wiggly blanket of puppies would be the ultimate therapy!
The pals began sending one another videos of lucky humans being showered with pups.
“Someone was in a pool filled with dogs or a room filled with puppies, and things like that,” Gessford told TODAY. “I never thought it would happen. I never asked for it. Maris just knew, along with everybody else that knows me, that I have a huge love for dogs and puppies.”
Loeffler made it her mission to treat her friend to what she code-named “the puppy ambush surprise.” After a year of plotting, she finally found a way to enact her plan when she contacted Ryan Hinderman, the Front Street Animal Shelter’s social media coordinator.
Local dog breeders had denied Loeffler’s requests, but Hinderman gave an immediate, enthusiastic “Yes!”
“We’re always looking for ways to make magic through the connection between people and animals,” Hinderman said. “Our shelter’s mission is to improve the lives of both people and pets. This was a fantastic opportunity to not only bring joy to a remarkable young woman, but also to raise awareness for shelter pets and brain cancer.”
On the afternoon on January 7, Loeffler blindfolded Gessford and gave her headphones to listen to as they drove to the shelter. Although Gessford was tipped off by the smell of dogs, she was completely surprised and overjoyed to find herself in a kiddie pool filled with pillows and puppies, surrounded by family and friends!
“I immediately broke down,” Gessford said. “I felt so overwhelmed and grateful all at the same time. I had only imagined something like this in my dreams and Maris made it a reality.”
Gessford is active with the National Brain Tumor Society and remains positive about her prognosis. She hopes that the video of her once-in-a-lifetime experience will remind the public of just how cute and wonderful shelter pets are!
H/T to TODAY.com