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Owasso animal hospital rallies around employees with cancer

Posted at 6:20 PM, Nov 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-15 21:14:06-05

OWASSO, Okla. -- Two employees at SAHO Animal Hospital found out they both have cancer weeks apart.  

Paulette Solitario was diagnosed with breast cancer. Solitario is one of the friendly faces guests see when they walk through the front doors. 

"She's like everybody's grandma, so you're sorry for your grandma hurting but then you are blindsided by the same thing," Alisha Balzer, another SAHO employee, said.

On Oct. 2nd, Balzer got the heartbreaking news that she had stage 3 non-Hodgkins lymphoma. 

Wednesday, 32-year old Balzer underwent her second of six rounds of chemotherapy at a local cancer hospital. 

Down the hall, her coworker and friend, Solitario, had radiation. 

Balzer said they text each other at least once a day. 

"She'll say 'I love you, honey. We've got to get through this. We'll do this. We're strong.,'" Balzer said.

Balzer said sitting in the hospital can be grueling, but it is the texts she gets from her coworkers saying one of the dogs peed on them that makes her smile. She said often times she is too exhausted to answer. 

"You can get very depressed very easily at the drop of a hat," Balzer said. "Why me? I have an 8-year old daughter. What's going to happen to her? Who do I tell her about? What happens if I leave? But then you get a text message from one of the 80 employees who loves you and are there for you at any second of the day and it changes your whole mood." 

SAHO employee, Jenalee Nies, described Balzer as the one who can always make you smile. 

Nies said Solitario is the one in their big family who is constantly looking out for everyone. 

"They both have given," Nies said. "They've enlightened us. They've show their love, expressed their sincerity in everything they do, so we just want to give back." 

They are holding a fundraiser for Solitario and Balzer this Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There will be raffles, food, games and of course pets are welcome. 

The fundraiser is just another way that SAHO is keeping the women involved in the animal hospital until they are able to return full time. 

Beating cancer and returning to the animals is a thought that lit up Balzer's face. 

"I can imagine it like a cat who just got set free out of a bag," Balzer said about when she is able to return. "Just go crazy on them but without the claws." 

SAHO has also set up a GoFundMe page for the women. 

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