Road To Rowdy

Carter, Ava, and Rowdy (the dog) all have something in common... and that is Vitiligo. 

Their ultimate dream is to meet in person!

Rowdy is a senior dog approaching 14 years old and his health has been rapidly declining within the last 2-3 weeks.  We feel they need to be connected quickly, and financially, each family involved could REALLY use your help.

I think the letter Carters mom wrote to Ellen is worthy of EVERYONE reading. It tells the story of why we want these 2 to meet:

Dear Ellen,

I wrote to you on September 26th, 2016, but I am determined to reach out to you again.

This is the story of how a black lab in Canby, OR changed the life of my 8 year old son in Searcy, AR.

My son, 8 year old Carter, was diagnosed formally with Vitiligo back in December 2014, although his condition started in August 2014. Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease that caused patches of Carter’s skin to lose their pigmentation. There are currently no treatments or cures, and the cause of the disorder is also unknown. Carter was just a little boy in kindergarten when his appearance changed drastically. He began to have serious problems with his self-confidence as he and his classmates noticed the transformation. He would go from room to room in my home looking at every mirror. I remember the day I picked him up from school when he said, “Mom, I hate my face.” As his mother, it broke my heart that I could not change this situation for him.

Several months ago, I saw pictures of a black lab named Rowdy who also developed his Vitiligo in August 2014! Carter and I have always been dog lovers, so I reached out to Rowdy’s owners. The decision to talk with the Umbenhower family changed our lives forever. A video was made last Fall on  Upworthy that went viral across Facebook with over a million views...and Carter's picture was in it. When I showed Carter the video, he broke out in the BIGGEST smile. "Me and Rowdy are famous!" he said. For the first time in 2 years, Carter was PROUD of himself and his Vitiligo. He even said, "Mom, your skin is boring because you don't have Vitiligo."

Rowdy changed my son's childhood. He changed our home and our lives. Rowdy is now a senior dog who is nearly 14 years old and suffers many health conditions. Carter has never met Rowdy face-to-face. As Carter’s mom, I don’t dream of taking him to Disney World or a fancy resort, I dream of taking him to Canby, OR where he can meet his four-legged hero.

PLEASE HELP CARTER MEET ROWDY! There is no greater gift that you could give this sweet little boy. We know in our hearts that Rowdy was put on this earth for Carter. Instead of Carter hiding behind his skin, he has told everyone he knows that he is special because of his Vitiligo. He has struggled for 2 LONG years. Rowdy changed all of that for him. We are forever grateful. Just last week Carter told me that he found a new “spot” on his face, and he wanted me to tell everyone I knew! Before Rowdy, a new spot would mean lots of anxiety.

Carter and Rowdy’s story is a wonderful example of how social media can positively change lives. We know that Rowdy doesn’t have much time left with us, but even after he is gone, we consider the Umbenhower’s family. They could have very easily just decided they had a “cool” looking dog, but they took it much further and made it their mission to reach out to others. We are thankful they did. It is because of them that my little boy smiles again, and is proud to tell people about his Vitiligo.

This story isn’t just about Vitiligo though. Rowdy has taught us the definition of beauty, regardless of what our outer shell may look like. He has taught us compassion for others and humility. 

 Ellen, please help this little boy meet his hero. Rowdy has lived a very full life and is showing signs that he is ready to leave us, but he has one final mission left. Please bring these two together!

Stephanie Adcock- a hopeful mother

AVA – 10 Years old – London Ontario Canada

Ava is a beautiful, confident, well-spoken 10-year-old determined to live her life to the fullest and educate anyone and everyone she can. She has been featured in many local news segments and has also reached out to the Umbenhower’s and built a special bond with Rowdy and dreams of meeting him in person!

You can see the amazing work she has already done and is continuing to pursue other avenues of spreading the word and helping whoever she can!

Our London Article

Humans of London

Humans of London Ontario

CARTER – 8 Years old – Searcy Arkansas

See Carter's mom's letter to Ellen to learn more! 

ROWDY – 13 Years old – Canby Oregon

Rowdy is a pure bred black lab that was completely black until August of 2014 when he started to develop a bit of white around each eye.  Within months he had 2 full blown symmetrical circles around his eyes. After a few vet appointments and opinions, a biopsy confirmed he had vitiligo.

In the eyes of many of his fans, Rowdy is a handsome superhero who is considered a “gorgeous creature.” However, for many children with Vitiligo, they can be teased, bullied and very insecure and depressed about the changes in their skin.  It is by chance that a mom of a child with Vitiligo reached out to the family of Rowdy and asked if they would be interested in being involved with the American Vitiligo Research Foundation and at that moment, it became Rowdy’s mission is to help as many of those children see themselves as handsome, beautiful, gorgeous and unique like people see him! 

He also hopes to educate those who do not know about it to assure them that kids who have this condition are just the same as they are but with skin that has spots (like Rowdy)!  And that all races and even animals develop it!

Knowing that Rowdy has drastically changed the life of Carter and his family, along with Ava and hers, we hope you’ll consider helping out the cause to have them all meet in person!

The funds will be withdrawn by the owners of Rowdy, who will pay for Carter, his mom, Ava and her Mom's trip to come to Oregon. Funds will cover their airfare, hotel, car rental, professional photos, food, and entertainment while with Rowdy.  Rowdy has been in contact with these families for over a year now! 

Anything over the 10K we need to make this trip happen will be put into Rowdy's much needed medical expenses, awareness and education efforts!! 

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Niki Rowdy Umby 
Canby, OR
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