Monday, December 26, 2011

Rilley's Bonus Christmas #2

This past December 25th marked what I've been referring to as  Rilley's second "bonus" Christmas.  After all, if we hadn't begun this adventure, he wouldn't have been with us last Christmas either.  All in all it was a good day, he received gifts of various sorts of treats including a large tub of Milk Bones!

Rilley and his really big jar of Milk Bones!
" it up! It looks yummy!"
I can't say that anything out of the ordinary happened...although that's kind of the point, isn't it?  He's back to being just a regular dog.  Well, IS Rilley after all.  The fact that he enjoyed all that Christmas dinner had to offer is gratifying in its simplicity.  That and the sight of him stealing some food out of the fridge just a few minutes ago!

Despite the big jar of Milk Bones and having some of the turkey dinner,
not all of his treats were bad.  Santa left him an all natural peanut butter
and grain dog treat and he seems to have loved it!
So, as the end of the year draws near we would hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and will have a great new year.  Here's hoping I will be able to make a post for his 3rd bonus Christmas next year!

P.S.  This marks out 100th post to the blog!  With almost 8200 visits since its inception.  Thanks everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Remember that cell bill....

As I had mentioned in one of the posts about our fourth and final trip to Minneapolis last month, Sara had an unfortunate turn of events with her journey as she had to fly down on her own.  Her flights turned into diversions and delays that culminated with being stranded at Chicago's O'Hare airport.  I had predicted that, as a result of all the calls she made while trying to straighten everything out, we'd have quite the cell phone bill when we returned home.  Well...the bill came in and I did my best to prepare myself for what it would say.  I knew it wouldn't be cheap but I never dreamed that the one day of roaming charges alone would amount to almost...


The total bill for the month (including our regular plan rate) was just north of $500.00.  Wow...I couldn't believe it.  However, I quickly realized that the cell company was simply charging me what they would charge anyone else who makes calls while roaming out-of-country.

Now, I can tell what you're thinking...the monolithic cell phone companies don't care about how much you racked up, they're just out to get everything they can.  While I can certainly understand why you would feel that way, I decided I would try to see what my cell carrier may be willing to do.  Besides...what was the worst that could happen?  They would simply tell me that we had made those calls, which was true, thereby we used the service they offered, which was also true and as a result we would be responsible for the charges.  True, true and true.

Nevertheless, I sat down and wrote a letter to the president of Rogers Communications Inc. (the parent company of Rogers Wireless), Mr. Nadir Mohamed.  I told him about Rilley's story and how his life was saved while participating in ground breaking research that, hopefully, would one day save the lives of countless people afflicted with brain tumours.  Obviously, I also told him how we came to amass such a bill in one month.

Again, right now you're saying to yourself...

"You'll never hear back.
There's no way he'll care...if he even does read your letter."

Well then, my friends, you'd better sit down!

On my way home from work this afternoon, my cell phone rang.  It was a gentleman named Brain, who said he was calling from the president's office at Rogers Communications and it was in regards to my letter! So I swallowed hard, and did my best to sound intelligent.  I can't say I was fully prepared as I honestly believed the same as you...there was no way my letter would make a difference.  It wasn't a long conversation, but Brian just wanted to talk about the situation, make some suggestions on how to avoid this from happening again and then he let me know that they would be reversing all the roaming charges!  Wow, I was's a good thing I kept control of the car!  (Yes, I was speaking on my Bluetooth headset...after all we do have laws against hand held devices while driving in Ontario...and rightfully so!)  I actually had to ask him a couple of times if I had heard him correctly.  This was honestly a very pleasant surprise.

To that end I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to both Brian (sorry, I didn't get your last name) and Mr. Nadir Mohamed, President of Rogers Communications Inc. for their help and support.  This was a very generous thing for them to do and Rilley would also like to send along a big thank you!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Early Show airs story on Drs. Pluhar & Ohlfest

While the girls and I were en route to Minneapolis for Rilley's final visit last month, I had posted that CBS's "The early Show" was going to run a story on the work that Dr. Pluhar and Dr. Ohlfest are doing.  We had even delayed our departure from the stop over in Kalamazoo to watch the show...only to find out that it had been bumped from that morning's lineup.

Well, it finally aired this morning and since I was at work at the time I had to wait until I got home this evening to watch it on CBS News website.  The story also includes another interview with John Huls, the man who is receiving the same treatment Rilley did.  I've posted the story below for your viewing pleasure.  For those who love catching continuity errors see if you can spot John Ohlfest's disappearing and reappearing beard!  Sorry CBS, but working in television myself, I couldn't resist pointing this out.... ;^)

Man's best friend: Key to brain cancer cure?
CBS News correspondent Debbye Turner Bell reports on an experimental vaccine for a deadly form of brain cancer that's being tested on dogs that stimulates the patient's own immune system to fight the tumor, and perhaps even prevent a recurrence of the disease.