WASHINGTON (WUSA) --They say a dog's a "Man's Best Friend," but a unique local organization is celebrating the treasured friendships of furry friends and their female owners who have battled breast and gynecological cancers.
Critters for the Cure recognizes the emotional connection and the healing effect of pets on their owners. And this week, the 2013 Critters calendar was unveiled, showcasing some of these survivors.
Nine News' very own JC Hayward, a breast cancer survivor, is featured in the calendar. JC said that during her fight with breast cancer this year, she relied heavily on her expert oncology team, her faith, her family, and her own critters- pups Sasha and Solomon.
"Oh, my dogs, I love them. Because they give unconditional love. They're always there. They always wag their tail to let you know they're happy," says JC.
Makeup artist and designer Monique Marwani also appears in the calendar with her dog, Bella. She was in the process of planning her wedding when she was diagnosed with metastatic cervical cancer seven years ago.
Doctors told Marwani that her cancer had been in her body for as long as five to seven years before she was diagnosed. She underwent grueling radiation and chemotherapy, leaving her weighing 98 pounds. And she says that when she was feeling her worst, her tiny dog Bella was part of her support team.
"This little girl of mine, she's not just a pet. She really is family. She's my pet-child. Bella's offered to me so much unconditional love. It doesn't matter how I look, how I feel, what kind of energy I have, as long as I can snuggle up with her and give to her," says Marwani.
The Critters for the Cure calendar was officially revealed this week at a launch party at Zohra Salon in Potomac. Proceeds from the 20 dollar calendar help support local women in need of financial help while undergoing treatment. Critters for the Cure helps cover bills, medical expenses, or even pet care for women as they battle cancer.
Purchase your 2013 calendar here.
For more information, visit the Critters for the Cure website at www.crittersforthecure.org.