Ziggy Fund for Feline Oncology Research
The Ziggy Fund for Feline Oncology Research was established by a passionately devoted mom in memory of her lovable, tenacious and courageous Bengal cat “GogeesZiegfriedsFolly” (lovingly known as “Ziggy”) as a way to honor his life and the intestinal fortitude, mental iron will and positive cheerful CATtitude he maintained in the face of grave physical and mental adversity for 8-1/2 months; and to make a difference in the lives of other kitties battling cancer.
The gift also honors MedVet New Orleans (one of a family of MedVet emergency and specialty hospitals throughout the U.S.) and the incredible veterinarians and technicians who cared for him, led by Dr. Missy Jackson in Emergency Medicine, Dr. Brigitte McAtee in Internal Medicine and Dr. Mia Livaccari in Oncology.
Beginning May 9, 2020, Ziggy battled gastrointestinal illness and following an endoscopy with biopsies was diagnosed with small cell lymphoma of the small intestine on July 30 at MedVet. Throughout the exhaustive and ongoing testing, bloodwork, daily medication administration, three different chemotherapy treatment programs, a revolving door of diet, RX/supplement changes, mental and emotional response changes, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, appetite fluctuations, litter box challenges, and continuing weight loss, Ziggy continued to exhibit the “joie de vivre” that defined his life and remained extra brave for his mom. It was during their time at MedVet, Ziggy and his mom soon met former UF College of Veterinary Medicine Oncology Resident, Dr. Mia Livaccari on Sept. 30.
Dr. Livaccari began treating Ziggy and over the course of the next 3-1/2 months her exceptional professionalism, dedication, compassion and love sparked and nurtured a unique and special bond with Ziggy. His fighting spirit fought through multiple rounds of cancer treatments and always brought smiles to those who cared for him. He loved to entertain people with his costumes and the blanket tunnels he built during his visits. He showed signs of improvement until a new, unexpected colonic mass made an unwelcome appearance in January. After a challenging journey, his mom made the difficult decision to say goodbye and, with Dr. Livaccari at her side, set Ziggy free to the Rainbow Bridge to heal.
Support to this fund will provide the UF College of Veterinary Medicine with the opportunity to improve the quality of life for humans and feline companion animals through research and advancements in our oncology service. As in human medicine, our animal friends are susceptible to many of the same life-threatening diseases. The generosity of Ziggy’s mom allows our oncology researchers to advance animal, human and environmental health and enables our faculty to continue the search for knowledge and possible cures. His mom said: “In life and in death, Ziggy never backed down. It is my fervent hope and intent that this fund will increase needed research to advance the treatment and mitigation of cancers in domestic felines, provide optimism and benefit to other domestic feline owners and that UFCVM will not back down until cures are found.”
Other College of Veterinary Medicine Giving Opportunities
Dr. Atwood C. Asbury Endowed Veterinary Forensic Fund
Small Animal Neurology Faculty Development Fund
Priscilla Henderson Scholarship Fund