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An 8-year-old Girl Rides Her Bike and Raises $160.41 for Neurology Service

by Marcia Hill Gossard '99, '04

Jenna and 'Timmy'
Jenna and "Timmy"

When 8-year-old Jenna from Washington State saw her beloved 18-month-old English Mastiff, "Timmy" suffering from Wobbler disease, a degenerative condition of the cervical spine that causes unsteadiness and eventually loss of mobility, she wanted to do something to help. So she decided to ride her bike for Timmy.

"Lots of people do bike rides to raise money and they raise a lot of money," said Jenna, who is now 9 years old and in the third grade. She came up with the idea after seeing another little girl raising money for people who needed clean water in Africa.

Jenna and her family decided to give the money to the WSU College of Veterinary Medicines Neurology Service, because their veterinarian had made a donation to the WSU Pet Memorial Fund in honor of "Wallace," their beloved bull mastiff golden retriever mix that passed last year just a few days before Christmas.

"We chose to donate to the vet school because of the kind letter we received from the college," said Jenna’s mom, Christina.

After they lost Wallace, they wanted another Mastiff and turned to a Mastiff rescue group. Jenna’s family adopted Timmy when he was a year old. Although he had some physical difficulties, the family was initially told it was not Wobbler disease. Sadly, they later discovered he did have the disease.

Despite the heartache of adopting a sick dog, Jenna saw the bright side. She told her parents that had they known he was so ill, Timmy would never have become part of their family. And although Jenna knows that the money can’t help Timmy, she and her family hope that by giving it to the WSU Neurology Service, other animals with neurological disorders can be helped.

In the end, Jenna raised $160.41, surpassing her goal of $100. Her family and friends generously donated to her 10-mile ride that she made on August 14, 2011. And even Jenna’s younger sister, Ashley, did her part.

"Ashley emptied her piggy bank and gave it to Jenna," said Jenna’s mom Christina.

Generosity and kindness runs in the family.

Update: In 2014, Jenna, now 11 years old, held bake sales at her local farmers’ market to raise an additional $360.85 for the neurology fund. Thanks, Jenna, for all your support!

Washington State University