Road To Rowdy
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:
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!!
Wednesday, March 22nd
We started the day with a big interview for a TV episode on Inside Edition. They came to the house and interviewed me (Rowdy’s mom), Carter and Stephanie, Ava & Julie and even Stella, the President of the AVRF! It was a huge success and aired on Thursday night! Boy did that spark all sorts of attention and interest! YAY!!! What a blessing to spread such awareness and spiral all sorts of education for the whole world. Yes, this has gone international and we are still getting calls, emails, and requests to share the story. SUCCESS! In so many ways.
We followed up the interview with another photo shoot with the FABULOUS Linsday Hile from Sit! Stay Pet Photography. This time with Ava, Carter, Stella AND Rowdy! Her work is special, she is special and the pictures were BEYOND special! She captured memories that will last a lifetime!
Carter and Ava celebrated their TV Stardom by going to iFly (an experience much like sky diving but indoors) then across the street to Sky High where the kids played for hours on the trampolines and had all sorts of fun at the center.
Then we all went over to the shopping mall nearby and they each picked out a black lab Build A Bear (that looks just like Rowdy without white eyes) and stuffed it with a recorded bark directly from Rowdy that says “Roof Roof Roof” (aka I Love You)! They were both so excited and happy to take a stuffed Rowdy home with them!
Thursday, March 23rd
Carter and Stephanie boarded a plane BRIGHT & EARLY to head back home after a trip of a life time! We were all very sad to see them go! Stella also flew out and had the most fun “Rowdy sitting” yesterday while we were all out skydiving and jumping at sky high!
Rowdy had a neurological appointment in the morning at VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists and they decided to keep him overnight and do an MRI and a Spinal Tap to see if anything abnormal showed up. All looked fairly good except there were signs of Brain Atrophy (Doggy Alzheimer’s) and other normal signs of aging.
Ava, Julie and Niki went for a beautiful drive to Multnomah Falls and took some fun pictures and hiked up to the bridge and soaked in the gorgeous view of the Columbia Gorge!
That evening we had some friends over with girls Ava’s age. The girls made slime, then we had a nice dinner and watched a movie.
Friday, March 24th
Today, Ava had her opportunity to play and go wild at Bullwinkles Fun Center, and she did JUST that! We then went to the shopping mall so she could get some “Made In Oregon” items to take home as mementos! We snuck into the candy store called Lolli & Pops (YUMMMMMM), then had friends over for “Family Game Night”!
I think the most fun the kids had was playing with the PetCube Play and chasing the laser that people can control from their own app. It was hysterical and they LOVED it (and “chased” it for hours)!
Saturday, March 25th
This was probably, weather wise, the nicest day we had here in Oregon during their visit. We packed up Rowdy, his wagon, and all headed to downtown Portland Saturday Market.
It was super fun to walk around in Portland because many people stopped us and said, “Is that the dog and girl in the news”?? It was like we were celebrities! Made us all feel pretty darn special!
We had one of the BEST EVER burgers at Killer Burger downtown then headed home to spend a nice quiet afternoon snuggling and pampering Rowdy before Ava and Julie had to fly out on Sunday.
Dreams came true all because of each of you! Whatever part you played in making this happen for Carter and Ava we thank you! From the bottom of our hearts! We changed lives and moved the world and good things are happening because of this journey!
Rowdy, Carter, Ava,
Niki, Stephanie, Julie
Thanks to ALL of you, our Campaign has been a success. I wanted to recap the AMAZING story and give you all a review as to what we were able to make happen in a very short amount of time.
Thursday, March 16th
KATU Channel 2 aired the segment about Rowdy, Carter, and Ava’s story.
The very same evening, an amazing viewer who requested to remain anonymous graciously donated $5,000 to make these dreams come true.
Then, the rest of you started to follow suit! THANK YOU!!
Saturday, March 18th
Carter & mom Stephanie arrived at Rowdy’s house that evening. They immediately hit it off like they had known each other forever! Ava & Julie had to postpone their trip until an arrival date of Tuesday, March 21st.
Sunday, March 19th
Rowdy suffered an unexpected seizure (his first ever) and spent the morning in the VCA Northwest Veterinary Specialists Hospital ER. Can you believe the timing? He meets Carter the night before and pulls that stunt? It scared the bajeebies out of all of us!
Carter and Stephanie spent the whole morning with Rowdy and family at the VCA waiting to hear what had happened. Once we knew Rowdy would be ok, they left for a fun filled day at Bullwinkles Family Fun Center in Wilsonville Oregon where a few other local kids (who also have Vitiligo) were invited. Emma and her Mom Nicole drove up from Eugene and spent the whole day with Carter and some time with Rowdy (he showed up in his comfy wagon to say hi and take a couple photos).
We also had a photo shoot planned with Rowdy’s AWESOME photographer Lindsay Hile of Sit! Stay Pet Photography. We decided we would go ahead and shoot and see how Rowdy did and he LOVED it. The weather was nice, he enjoyed the fresh air, and loves being with people, so he was a rock star.
Monday, March 20th
KATU2 came out and filmed a follow up segment since that Carter and Stephanie were both in town. It was broadcast Nationally because of the wonderful nature of the story! And that started a whirlwind of interviews for all of us including stories that have gone viral internationally.
That evening we got some family and friends together and had a super fun night of bowling!!
Tuesday, March 21st
This day was probably one of Carters favorites! When I asked him what is one thing you want to do while you are here, he said “go to a big music store and play all the instruments but especially the saxophone”. After doing a bit of research, there wasn’t a store in our area that would accommodate what he had hoped for so I called our very talented and amazing band teacher at my daughter’s high school and he invited Carter to not only come out and see the instruments and try any of them, but also to sit with his class during practice and try any of the instruments he wanted while they were playing! IT WAS SO AWESOME! He tried them all (almost)! He played the drums, tambourine, tuba, clarinet, flute, trombone, maracas, piano, bass saxophone, and his most favorite – the saxophone. He had so much fun. The incredible band teacher, Kaden Christensen, and his students greeted Carter with the most heartwarming sincere welcome, taught him to play their instruments, and even sent him home with his very own saxophone, maraca, and tambourine!!!!!! Such an incredible experience for all involved. Carter was so confident walking in there, I think he may have even taught those high schoolers a thing a two; like how to be kind to everyone, no matter what your skin looks like!!! ;)
Carter went to the movies that evening with several children and saw Beauty And The Beast! Which he of course loved!
Stella, the President of the American Vitiligo Research Foundation flew in (on a previously planned trip – before all this other excitement happened) to check out the venue where the AVRF Annual Children’s Retreat will be held this year – Home of Rowdy – the AVRF Mascot! How fun to have her here while all this meeting and greeting is going on.
Ava and her mother Julie arrived very late on Tuesday, all the way from London Ontario Canada, but came straight to meet Rowdy and spent a few hours snuggling with him and petting him for the first time. Another amazing meeting while truly feeling like we had known each other for years.
To be continued...
An extremely big hearted, generous, amazing woman in Salem Oregon anonymously donated $5000 to make our trip(s) possible right after she saw the segment air on Thursday.
We still need to raise funds to get Ava and her Mom Julie out here ASAP. As many of you may know, the morning after Carters arrival, Rowdy suffered some sort of seizure or stroke yesterday and is very, very weak and needs some expensive scans ran (CT Scan and and an MRI to the tune of $3000 - he does have a medical fund if you'd be interested in checking it out please go to www.gofundme.com/whiteeyedrowdy).
Unfortunately, Ava and Julie were out of town and unable to attend at the same time as Carter and Stephanie so we still need your help!
We were able to fly Carter and his mom Stephanie out this last weekend (on Saturday) and they will leave on Thursday. The meeting was (and has been) one of the most gratifying, rewarding things I've personally ever experienced!
On Sunday, they met us at the Vet Hospital ER room and spent several hours with us while Rowdy was being checked out. Once they were able to clear him and send him home, we had already arranged for another wonderful little girl Emma and her mom Nicole from Eugene, Oregon to drive up and meet all of us at Bullwinkle's Family Fun Center for a day of crazy fun and a gentle, meaningful meeting with Rowdy. Emma also had a dream to meet him and we made that possible yesterday. BIG SMILE!!!
We had also already planned a professional Photography session with the amazing Lindsay Hile from Sit! Stay Pet Photography out of Portland Oregon and captured some beautiful photos of Carter, his mom, and some local friends of our family Ally and Olivia who came to meet and play with Carter also!
Today, KATU Channel 2 is coming to film us at 11:00 am to do a follow up story of this "Make A Wish" experience!
Please consider donating for Ava & Julie or share with everyone you know. xoxo
Please tune in tomorrow, Thursday March 16th at 6:00 pm Pacific Standard Time to see the interview and story live! http://katu.com/live
❤️ Love your story we do have a beautiful daughter who is also blessed with same condition... but from day one we help her understand her condition.... she is now 10yrs old and we thank God for blessing her with full confidence and continues to educate people that is willing to know her condition... We would love to have a group that can help get people together with Vitiligo and help other people understand the condition better Let's set up a day that we can celebrate and call it Vitiligo day and get together maybe at Disneyland This will be good specially for kids to know that they are not alone on this condition
In Mx and I thing in the rest of the wild there is a alternative therapy called autohemoyherapy that helps in this kind of disease. Please inform yourself about it and it is probably you can find a place close to your home. It is really miracle in cases of vitiligo
Don't understand the donations, I have this skin condition since having my last child(14 years), and I at first was really self conscious about it, now, I have learned I have to accept me for me.
I hope you can meet soon. Please have an ince cream with Rowdy when you meet him on my behalf. I also have vitiligo and I can tell you everything is going to be fine :).
Can't wait for AVRF kids to meet this handsome man!!! Get well soon Rowdy!!!