For the love of Maggie

‘Angels’ come to financial aid of cancer survivor’s dog

Submitted photo
A fundraiser has been organized for Lisa Abankwa’s dog, Maggie, who needs cruciate surgery that costs nearly $4,000.

Amazing is how Stillwater resident Lisa Abankwa describes what’s happened for her and her dog, Maggie, over the past three weeks.

People she describes as angels from all over the country have donated money to help her pay for her pit bull’s surgery on her torn cruciate ligament. The surgery costs upwards of $3,800.

“Five years ago I had to have major surgery. I had a tumor in my lower intestinal tract. The treatment the doctors gave me, that killed my pancreas. Maggie was there through it all. Throughout my entire recovery she laid there and licked my tears when they told me that I was going to die. She’s been there for me and now that I can’t financially give back to her I needed to find a way to pay her back,” Abankwa said.

So, Abankwa began writing letters to people she knew who had participated in a similar fundraiser in Billings, Mont., called “Walking for Red” for a dog that needed surgery. That’s when she heard back from the chief angel, Patty Daponte from Meridian, Conn. Daponte is the organizer of Maggie’s fundraiser.

After verifying the information that she received from Lisa, Daponte stepped in and offered to run for Maggie to help raise funds.

“It’s what I do. There were some other requests as well, but Lisa’s touched my heart the most,” Daponte said. “I know she’s had a great deal of medical issues and she does have some money set aside to help pay for Maggie’s surgery.”

Abankwa’s reaction to hearing back from Daponte was shock and gratefulness.

“In this day and age people don’t help people like they used to,” Abankwa said. “I believe in karma and I have always tried to help people, whether it’s a homeless person with his dog or donating to the ASPCA. For strangers to come and help another person is really rare and that’s why it’s just amazing to help someone when you can. I think that animal lovers as a community are really helpful people and we pull together.

Abankwa is employed and her husband is working. She and her husband have paid out $65,000 over the last five years for Abankwa’s medical expenses. She also needs to pay for medication every month.

“People ask me all the time why I do this for my dog,” Abankwa said. “It’s simple, it’s because she’s my love.”

To donate to Maggie’s surgery, people can call Rivertown Animal Hospital in Stillwater at 651-430-2229. The Facebook group called Helping Maggie has organized online raffles, and an online store that can be found at has stepped up as well.

With a purchase, when the code Maggie is entered, people get a 10 percent discount on their purchase and 20 percent of the sale goes to Maggie. All money raised goes directly to the veterinarian’s office. The group reported on Monday that they had raised $1,205 so far.

“I’m just very happy for Miss Maggie, she deserves a second chance and I can’t wait to see her running around and playing with her friends again,” Abankwa said.