Most cancers survivor Keith Jewett and canine Winna share pleasure with sufferers. Corewell Well being


“Would you want to go to the canine?” asks hospital volunteer Keith Jewett as his remedy canine, Winna, stands prepared, tail wagging.

Few can resist.

After saying sure, Vinna and Keith method, and Vinna gently lays her head on the affected person’s or customer’s lap and fortunately accepts the pet.

And for just a few treasured moments, ideas of most cancers fade as Winna’s comfortable eyes and comfortable fur convey pleasure to these she encounters.

If the dialog follows, because it typically does, Keith shares that Winna can be a most cancers survivor and reveals the scar the place Winna had a mast cell tumor eliminated within the fall of 2020. Went when he was only a pet.

Regardless of the elimination of the tumor, Winna’s prognosis was not good. However a 12 months later, with Winna in good well being, Jewett determined she would serve others.

“When she went previous her expiration date, it was an indication that she beat her most cancers,” Jewett mentioned. “I assumed, ‘He must be a most cancers remedy canine.’

Winna, a spaniel combine, was skilled and authorized by the Alliance of Remedy Canine. She and Jewett have been volunteering since Might 2022 at Corewell Well being’s Huge Rapids and Reed Metropolis hospitals and the Susan P. Whitlake Regional Most cancers Middle.

A most cancers survivor himself, Jewett takes Veena with him when he goes to the most cancers heart for his remedy.

After spending time with sufferers and guests, Jewett and Winna cease to test on crew members, make rounds and produce smiles. Winna and affected person providers consultant Shannon Carmichael are all the time comfortable to see one another.

“To sufferers and our crew members alike, Winna is a ray of sunshine who typically is aware of when to make a spherical,” mentioned Carmichael. “His love can brighten even the darkest days.”

Jewett’s most cancers journey started within the late 90s when he was recognized with two sorts of blood most cancers. Earlier than the Susan P. Whitlake Regional Most cancers Middle was constructed, he started receiving remedy from visiting medical doctors in a trailer behind Purple Metropolis Hospital.

“I used to be right here, earlier than I used to be right here,” he joked.

He was recognized with choroidal melanoma in 2015, eye most cancers and prostate most cancers in 2016. Jewett has a prosthetic proper eye after having it eliminated in 2018.

Jewett is a retired professor of Ferris State College the place he taught pc programming, networking and electronics for 18 years.

He joined FSU after retiring from the Navy, the place he served on a nuclear submarine for 20 years.

Jewett’s spouse of 49 years, Mary, talked him into getting a canine in 2020. The couple lives in Hawkins, Michigan, close to Purple Metropolis.

“He was speculated to be my remedy canine,” she mentioned of Winna.

Jewett turns into emotional whereas describing Winna’s results when interacting with sufferers.

“She has a beautiful temperament,” he mentioned. “I like seeing how individuals reply to it. It actually hits some individuals.”

Winna hung out with most cancers affected person Wendy Montague, from Huge Rapids, on the Most cancers Middle on Jan. 23. Montag stroked Veena’s head and ears and had a short dialog with Jewett.

It was a brief however candy change. Sadly, Montague died three weeks later.

Winna, now over three years outdated, reveals no indicators of slowing down. She and Jewett volunteer two to a few hours every week at hospitals and a most cancers heart.

“Sufferers and workers alike love spending time with Keith and Vina,” mentioned Volunteer Companies Coordinator Suzie Hicks. “Remedy canines are all the time widespread and Winna is such a sweetheart – and naturally Keith has a really fascinating story.”

When requested why she determined to volunteer, Jewett was fast to provide credit score to Vina.

“I would not be doing this if it wasn’t for him,” he mentioned. “We’re each most cancers survivors.”

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