DENVER (CBS4) – It’s a title that catches your eye and imagination: The Stink Bug Project. Founded by a young cancer patient, it brings together patients, pets and prisoners.
Twelve year old Allison Winn is a cancer survivor. She received her little dog, Coco, after her last chemotherapy treatment.
“She’s definitely like the best dog ever.” That’s how Allison describes her canine companion.
Coco came to Allison by way of the K-9 Companion program at Colorado Prisons, a program where inmates train dogs.
Allison felt that other young cancer patients would benefit from a pet. That’s why she started “The Stink Bug Project.”
She bakes and sells dog treats to help raise money to buy inmate-trained dogs for other sick kids. Her inspiration for “Stink Bug” came from a bug she drew near the end of cancer treatment to say goodbye to cancer.
A few months after doctors found a tumor on Oscar Martinez’s ribs, Newton the yellow lab moved into his house thanks to “Stink Bug.”
“When I stay home from school and I don’t feel good,” Oscar said, “he’s like my friend and he will hang out with me.”
But Allison isn’t doing her good work alone. The Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation supports her project.
It also makes sure the families have all the help they need.
“They’re able to help me with gas vouchers or food if I needed food, they’d give me vouchers to go grocery shopping,” explained Oscar’s mom, Rachel Martinez.
Rachel took a year’s leave of absence to be with Oscar during his treatment. But at first, she didn’t want to accept help.
“Sometimes you have to have the help,” Rachel said through tears. “It’s nice for people to be there to offer that and be able to do that for you when you need it. It’s great.”
But it’s not just the support of the people, those four-footed furry friends provide plenty of comfort as well.