In the middle of a global pandemic and lockdown, seven-year-old Leanor complained of pain in her leg. She’d wake up in the middle of the night in agony and it soon became clear that what her parents initially thought was just a bruise was something far more serious when she no longer wanted to walk on her leg. After multiple scans and x-rays, doctors discovered a tangerine-sized tumor in Leanor’s leg and a biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of Ewing Sarcoma, a rare and highly aggressive form of cancer.
Doctors immediately began Leanor’s treatment, performing a successful limb salvage surgery to remove a large portion of the bone in her left leg as well as chemotherapy and radiation. While she was in the hospital, she and her older sister, Dot, got to meet a rather unexpected celebrity – Doug the Pug.
Leanor and Dot became huge fans of Doug the Pug, who is one of the most famous and beloved dogs in the world. With his millions of followers on social media, two People’s Choice Awards under his collar and a voice acting credit to his name, Doug is as accomplished as it gets when it comes to our furry friends. His humans, Rob and Leslie are just as special and talented, too! Together, they launched the Doug the Pug Foundation, which helps children with childhood cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. That’s why everyone was thrilled when Doug and his musically-gifted humans agreed to create a song from a story Leanor and Dot had written called, “The Quest for the Golden Pearl.”
Thanks to Horizon Therapeutics and their #RAREis program, Doug and his humans teamed up with Sing Me a Story Foundation to turn “The Quest for the Golden Pearl: A Galactic Dogs and Galactic Cats Adventure” into a fantastic bop.
After the song was complete, Doug the Pug and his foundation challenged everyone to post a video of them with their furry best friend(s) using a portion of the song, “When you’ve got a friend by your side!” and the results were golden.
So many friends joined in to share their love with Leanor, Dot and Doug, including Clark and Staley (the mascots for the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bears), Kimchi the Corgi, Magnus the Therapy Dog, Maxine (MadMax_FluffyRoad), 4Paws for Ability, and of course, the Sing Me a Story Foundation.
More than 1.7 million people viewed, shared or engaged with Leanor and Dot’s fantastic story and the song created by Doug and his humans. Want to get in on the fun and keep the love going for Leanor and Dot and the Quest for the Golden Pearl? Create your own Instagram video!
If you’re interested in more fabulous songs created from stories of children with rare diseases, check out the #RAREis Playlist!
Ewing sarcoma is a rare bone tumor that is part of the Ewing family of tumors (EFT). Ewing sarcoma of bone most often affects the long bone of the legs (femur) and flat bones such as those found in the pelvis and chest wall. The tumor typically causes pain, tenderness and swelling. It’s an aggressive cancer that may spread (metastasize) to the lungs, other bones and bone marrow. Ewing sarcoma occurs most often in adolescents between the ages of 10-20 years old. Approximately 200-250 children and adolescents in the US are diagnosed with a tumor in the Ewing family of tumors each year; it is extremely rare in African Americans and Asians. The exact cause of Ewing sarcoma is unknown and most cases are thought to occur randomly and sporadically.
The mission of what Doug the Pug does every day is to bring joy and happiness. Through his visits with children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases, it was only natural that Doug the Pug wanted to do more than just bring joy for a few moments. Families and children in treatment for cancer or a life-threatening illness have needs outside of medical support to maintain families, bring joy, and support for the battle they are on.
Sing Me a Story’s mission is to serve deserving families in need through the imaginative stories of their children and the power of music. With the help of songwriters, they create music inspired by the creative stories of children. These songs and stories are a good reminder of how much we have in common, raise awareness and financial aid for nonprofits around the world and, most of all, provide families with an unforgettable experience that brings joy and healing.