Keeping the pack together: Dog business rallies around employee battling cancer

Dog business rallies around employee battling cancer
Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 11:52 PM CST
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BARNUM, MN (CBS 3) - -- Chardae Wilson is 27 and works at Liberty K9 in Barnum. She knows what she loves most about her job.

“Interacting with dogs, because I love animals. Who doesn’t?” said Wilson, a manager at Liberty K9.

It’s a tight-knit group of coworkers. They even have a group text chain going.

“It’s just like we’re a big family, we let everyone know what’s going on in our life,” said Wilson.

A couple of months ago, her life took a turn.

“I had noticed that I had some denser tissue in my right breast. I kind of put it away because I’m young and that’s pretty normal,” said Wilson.

The problem seemed to be getting worse, so she turned to her doctor.

“This doesn’t feel like something that should be happening now or ever, so I went in and got it checked out, and that’s where we went from there,” said Wilson.

Doctors told her she has stage three breast and lymph node cancer at 27 years old.

According to the CDC, one in 10 women in the US will get breast cancer.

Of those, one in eight will be under the age of 45, and for those women, it’s often found at a later stage.

Wilson told her family first, then used that text chain to tell her work family.

That’s when her coworkers at Liberty K9 decided it was a battle she wouldn’t have to fight alone.

Liberty started fundraising to help out, launching a GoFundMe and raffling off the services provided at their facility.

“I want her to worry about being healthy and fighting cancer, not ‘I can’t pay my bills’, and ‘oh my gosh I have to get into work’,” said Jennifer Orn Sandstrom, owner of Liberty K9.

With her support system intact, Wilson has a message for other young women.

“Don’t just pass it off like I did, make sure you’re going in and getting it checked out. I mean, potentially had I gone in when I first saw it, it could have been different,” she said.

The CDC has a special Bring Your Brave campaign geared toward cancer detection in younger women.

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