When the little Maltese named Dixie disappeared over the weekend from Ron and Sherry Cantrell's home in North East, it wasn't just any lost dog.
"It's nice to live in a community that care about one another," Sherry said.
It was the pet left behind as the family of 1-year-old Lachlan Gooch traveled to Tennessee for his eighth chemotherapy treatment in as many months.
"I was terrified because my daughter was flying in on Monday and this happened and I thought that she wasn't going to be there and with everything else going on in her life, I thought this loss can't be there for her today," said the toddler’s grandmother.
When he was eight months old, his parents rushed Lachlan to the emergency room with severe jaundice, and doctors ultimately discovered a cancerous tumor on his liver, pancreas, adrenal gland and gall bladder.
The diagnosis---Stage 4 Neuroblastoma.
"He's getting his last chemotherapy that he can get within the next few days actually, but because he's on such high doses of chemotherapy, we've had a lot of issues with that. He keeps going septic,” said Lachlan’s mother, Candace Gooch, “So he's been through so much, but he's still strong. He gets knocked down and then two days later he'll be up walking around the hallways with all the nurses, his friends and stuff like that."
When deputies discovered Dixie's whereabouts and returned her, they learned of the family's battle to save Lachlan's life, and they encouraged them to start a Go Fund Me page since his cancer wasn't covered by insurance.
"We tried to keep it within the family and we tried to fight it and keep each other strong, but it's been tough,” said Ron Cantrell, Lachlan’s grandfather, “So after the interaction with the sheriff's department and they offered their help, I really appreciate that."
It's a sentiment shared by Lachlan's mother who is splitting her time now between her sick child and his two healthy siblings thankful that her lost pet helped her find support when she needs it the most.
"I live it every single day. So I'm reminded every single time that I look at any of my kids that I'm in the situation I'm in,” said the toddler’s mother, “So to hear people just constantly rooting for Lachlan and our whole family is just so nice."
The family says he'll require ongoing preventative treatments, and they’ve raised $910 toward their funding goal as of Tuesday morning. They've also set up a “Warriors for Lachlan” Facebook page to document his journey.
"The entire family dynamic has been turned upside down," the family said on the GoFundMe page.
Find more information on Lachlan’s “Cancer Treatment and Recovery Fund” HERE.
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