About Us

The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study Supporters was created by of a group of dedicated volunteers on a mission to recruit, inform and retain our 3000 Heroes. We developed from a group of people determined to make a difference. We have all been touched by a loss to cancer. If you have not already done so, please join us on our Golden Retriever Lifetime Study Supporters Facebook group.

We are lucky enough to have Morris Animal Foundation support us in our efforts. Our goal is to raise awareness and funds to support the study.             

Who We Are

Meet the Volunteer Leadership Team:

Leigh Collins
Leigh Collins resides in Rochester, NY with her husband Keith, two cats and two golden retrievers. She is a retired dance instructor with a BS Degree in dance from SUNY Brockport.

Leigh first heard of the study on Facebook when her youngest golden, Sammie, was only six months old. Although never having lost a dog to cancer, she knew that cancer rates for goldens are exceptionally high. Getting involved in the study was a way for her to make a difference in the lives of all dogs, not just her own.

Since retirement, Leigh spends most of her time as a volunteer with Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study in which Sammie is now a proud participant. As part of the Volunteer Leadership Team, Leigh helps to manage the study supporters Facebook group.  She also helps to coordinate volunteer activities and events. Leigh is looking forward to her ever changing role in the retention phase of the study.

When not working with the volunteer team, Leigh and Sammie provide pet therapy services to individuals with developmental and physical disabilities in several residential homes for Heritage Christian Services.  They also volunteer with seniors at Hudson Housing and Happiness House, an organization which provides rehabilitation services to people with traumatic brain injuries and other disabilities.

Valerie Robson –
Valerie, her husband Greg, and the Golden Crew, live in Conifer, Colorado located in the foothills southwest of Denver. Valerie's first golden Barney was adopted by her family when she was about 10 years old. Barney was a wonderful companion, and instilled in Valerie her love and commitment to the breed. Valerie has volunteered for many years with various golden retriever rescues and in her working life has managed programs for senior adults and volunteers. When Valerie and Greg were married and bought their first house, the decision to get a dog was a given; and of course Valerie insisted it would be a golden retriever! Over the past 20 years of their marriage, there have been seven goldens that have been part of the family. Many goldens have spent time in their home as fosters and have gone on to great families of their own. Two of these fosters became permanent residents when Greg and Valerie couldn’t give them up.

Over the years, three of the family dogs succumbed to cancer – Samson to liver cancer and both the girls, Carmel and Charm, to hemangiosarcoma. When the family decided it was time to get a puppy, the perfect boy was born and Astro became part of the family in August of 2011. Shortly after that, Valerie learned of Morris Animal Foundation's Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. Astro became a pilot dog and then the 11th dog enrolled in the study. When the opportunity to be part of the National Volunteer Leadership Team came up, Valerie jumped at the chance to further her work with the breed she loves and use her skills to help the study be a long term success. She is thrilled to be able to use her background in volunteer management, event planning, and even counseling to help the study, especially now that it is in the retention phase.

Sherri Wilson –  
Sherri has had a lifelong love affair with dogs starting when she was 2 years old and she brought two dogs into the marriage when she and Andy tied the knot over 25 years ago.

Their life was changed, however, when their first golden retriever, Tiki, was diagnosed with leukemia on her fifth birthday. That is when Sherri first learned of Morris Animal Foundation and their efforts to cure canine cancer and became involved in raising money for them through their walks starting in 2008.

When she first learned of the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study - her second golden, Madison, was too old to enroll. Sherri watched as the enrollment numbers grew and when she got her third golden, Bailey, she counted the days until he would be old enough to be a participant in this very important study and there was much celebration when he received his Hero title.

Sherri is honored to be a part of something that is so important that will make a difference in the life of not only golden retrievers - but also all dogs (and quite possibly the humans that love them).

Now that the retention phase of the study has begun, she looks forward to helping keep participants involved and excited about this groundbreaking study, as well as continuing to raise money to support this worthwhile cause.

In addition to her volunteer work with the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, Sherri also has her own CPA practice where she is lucky enough to work from home with her two goldens and their kitten, Grace.