A 7-year old boy who beat all odds and survived cancer got the surprise of a lifetime Friday for his birthday. Matthew Hannon lives outside New Jersey with his mom, dad and two older brothers. He was diagnosed as a baby with Metastatic Cancer and has been in remission since December.
Fox Breeze Kennel in Annville, heard about his story and decided give him a 2-year old Basset Hound they rescued from a kill-shelter.
At 7- months old doctors diagnosed Him with Metastatic cancer. It spread to his liver, lung and arm. A week before his first birthday doctors amputated his left arm. “His big struggle is his arm. Obviously we have some children who are wonderful for him, and others who aren’t. But if you knew Matt he just doesn’t let it get him down,” said Matthew’s mom Keri Hannon.
Matthew beat the odds and has been cancer-free for 5 years.
“When we were told about Matt, the scariest feeling was will he be here another month? So to see him beat the odds. I can’t even describe it,” said Keri.
Matthew has always wanted a real dog, but challenges have gotten in the way. “We lost the house, we lost everything because of his care. Financially we’re rebuilding and we’re renting a home and the landlords weren’t too keen on us getting a dog. We built up trust and they finally approved it,” said Keri.
On Friday Matthew got his wish. “How long have you wanted a dog? Forever!” exclaimed Matthew. His family brought him to Hershey to see the chocolate factory and then told him they were just stopping to look at dogs. Little did Matthew know he would be taking one home. As his back was turned shelter workers brought out his new dog Jo Alice.
Jo Alice is also a survivor. A team of people from North Carolina all the way to Lebanon County worked to save her from a kill shelter that planned to euthanize her.
Tri State Basset Hound Rescue and Carolina Basset Hound Rescue removed Jo Alice from the shelter. “She got dropped off at the shelter along with her 8 puppies. They were all adopted out, she was on their euthanasia list. We stepped in and rescued her,” said Eric Stevenson with Tri State Basset Hound Rescue. “I think this pulls at a lot of things. You have a child who survived cancer, you have a dog who survived a southern shelter, and it’s all coming together.”
Scott Messinger, owner of Eye Land Optical in Lebanon County is part of the Pilots N Paws Program. He has flown over 3000 dogs from southern shelters that would have been put down. Messinger flew Jo Alice to Pennsylvania.
“When you think of how that child survived all of this, and all he ever wanted was a dog, and here somebody just tossed this dog out like garbage and now she has a forever home. It’s such a great story,” said Marlene Boyd with Fox Breeze Kennel. “We donated the adoption fees, we also gave her a bath this morning, did her hair, her nails, and got her ready for her big surprise her forever home!”
Hard working volunteers and fate brought these two survivors together. “It makes feel better that we are moving in the right direction. I feel like he is going to be a normal kid, he’s going to be a healthy kid, he’s going to have no worries, he’s going to be home playing with that dog!” said Keri.