Icky is Sicky - Help Her Beat Cancer!

Icky the Boston Terrier needs some help!

In September of 2018, Rebecca and I were lucky enough to find this sweet pupper at Animal Care Center of NYC in Harlem where she'd been brought in as a stray.  She'd clearly had several litters, was missing much of her hair, and was severely under-weight; the general consensus at the shelter was that she had been used as a backyard breeder and then dumped when she was no longer useful. Her spunky personality and loving soul won over our hearts immediately and she has brought joy, laughter, and light to our family since the the day we brought her home.

Today she is a healthy weight, her coat has come back in, and she is treated regularly for the allergies that, along with poor nutrition, likely contributed to her hair loss in the first place. She is also on medication for seizures, having had her first seizure in April 2019. She is a happy, outgoing, much-loved dog.


In early July, Icky started acting odd - stumbling when she walked, unable or unwilling to jump on or off furniture, less interested in playtime with us or with our other rescue dog, Nyx. Our goofy girl was miserable and hurting, yelping out loud in pain though we couldn't see anything physically happening to her. She had also begun to have more frequent seizures, and our concern led us to Dr. Eich, a veterinary neurologist at Animal Specialty Center in Yonkers, NY. On July 9th, we learned that Icky has a glioma brain tumor in her right frontal lobe.

Since then we've had Icky on steroids and a higher dose of her seizure medication, and our ridiculous, loving girl is back to her old self. She is eating fine, playing like her usual rambunctious self, and still takes up all of the space on our bed.  However, this kind of palliative care will not be successful long term, and due to the size of the tumor her prognosis is only 3 - 6 months before the cancer claims her. 

However, the tumor is localized and treatable, and Animal Specialty Center is on the forefront of technology when it comes to treating this exact medical condition! ASC is recognized as a leader in radiation oncology with the TrueBeam Radiotherapy System, which has made previously untreatable tumors super treatable. We've had a consultation with their radiation oncologist, Dr. Rosen, and because of Icky's general good health, age, and her response to the steroid treatment, her prognosis with treatment is up to two years or more!

The recommended course of action is Stereotactic Radiation Therapy (SRT): a targeted, precise tumor radiation that destroys tumor cells in only 3 - 5 sessions with very little side effects. It is proven to be highly effective long-term treatment, has the potential to be curative depending on ability to target all tumor cells, and it is the treatment of choice for this kind of localized tumor. It can add years to an animal's life, and Dr. Rosen believes this would be an effective treatment for our Icky.

We need to start radiation treatment by August 6th. Each day adds more growth to the tumor so time is of the essence.

The cost of Stereotactic Radiation Therapy is $12,659.06.

Rebecca and I unfortunately do not have that kind of money. Not many people we know do.  We did just cover the costs of her MRI, Xrays, labs, and consult totaling $4200.00, but most of that was via a payment plan that we will be paying for over 12 months and it already hit us very hard financially. We are still feeling the effects of our cross country move and getting our own place in one of the most expensive cities in the country, and neither of us has any credit available to us after several years of hardship and debt from human medical bills. We have been denied for CareCredit, Wells Fargo Health Advantage, ScratchPay, and personal loans.  We are still working on building a stable place for us in NY and this is a substantial sum that we just don't have and can't get on our own.

That is why we are humbly asking for your help. 

If we had been told by Dr. Eich or Dr. Rosen that Icky's prognosis was not good with treatment, and that we should just prepare to make her last few months as comfortable as possible, that's what we would be doing. We want to do what is in the best interest of our dog, and not selfishly attempt to prolong a life that would be lived in pain or unwell. But the news for Icky's prognosis was excellent, and we also don't want to lose her to an early grave without doing everything we can to give her a fighting chance. We can't say for sure what her life entailed before we met her, but we're pretty sure she's fought hard to make it this far, and we want to honor that. Any and all funds raised will go toward Icky's curative treatment.

Although she hasn't even been in our lives a full year yet, Icky has affected our family in so many positive ways. We set out to rescue a confident dog to be a companion to Nyx who struggles with severe anxiety, and it didn't take long at all for "the girls" to become best buddies. Nyx is braver with Icky beside her, and Icky is quite content to lead the way for herself, Nyx, and anyone else who would like to follow.

If you are able to help us help Icky, we would be more grateful than we can put into words. It's hard to remember a time before Icky was a part of the family. She is a love-bug, a goober, a sassy-pants, an amazing sister to Nyx, and most of all a good, good dog. Rebecca and I adore this little animal, and want her to have a shot at more happy, healthy years where we can continue spoiling her with toys and beds and yes, even clothes because we're people who dress our little dog now. 

There is something very special about the relationship between dogs and humans, and Icky embodies that in a way I've never seen. She is pure love and gratitude, and we are grateful for every day we get to spend with her.

Thank you for reading, for donating any amount if you are able, and for sharing to help raise awareness of Icky's situation. You can always also follow Rebecca or myself on Instagram for so many more pictures of Icky because who wouldn't want more pictures of Icky? Icky says thank you as well. 


Donations (0)

  • The Pupper Cup 
    • $75 
    • 5 mos
  • Ania A 
    • $40 
    • 5 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 5 mos
  • Shoshanna Richman  
    • $18 
    • 6 mos
  • Mandy Ressler  
    • $12 
    • 6 mos
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Fundraising team (3)

Donnie Cianciotto 
Bronx, NY
Rebecca Cianciotto 
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