PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Bobbi Miller has dedicated her life to animals for as long as she can remember.
“I’d be dragging home anything from snakes to injured birds,” she said.
Her work culminated with the creation of her non-profit animal rescue organization, “CHESED”, in 2004.
Chesed is the Hebrew word for loving-kindness, the same approach Miller said she takes towards animals.
“I’ve always wanted to do something with the philosophy chesed,” said Miller, “which means helping someone or something that can’t help themselves and expecting nothing in return.”
Since it began, the group has helped place thousands of animals into loving homes, and in that time Miller has gained a close group of friends.
“People have gone above and beyond and showed love and friendship I never would’ve thought I’d deserve,” said Miller.
She gained friends like Joni Garvin who has trouble putting into words what makes Miller so great.
“Just her soul and who she is,” said Garvin.
Over the years Miller became so dedicated to the principle behind her group that she overlooked taking care of herself.
“Something was really wrong,” said Miller, “I knew it but I kept 'back burning it, putting the rescue thing first and I had a new job. Work first and I kept 'back burning it until it became untenable and I knew I was in trouble.”
The “it” came in March - late-stage ovarian cancer.
“I was in shock because I didn’t expect it to be so bad or I was just in denial, I wasn’t really sure,” said Miller.
Before the dust could settle her circle of friends swept in with a healthy dose of encouragement.
"We weren’t going to let her give up that’s for sure. We were devastated of course but we knew she was going to have a grandchild and she had to be here for her,” Garvin said.
Miller’s granddaughter came out healthy while Miller dealt with a barrage of medical appointments and six rounds of chemotherapy. The treatment has left her admittedly weak, but she hasn’t given up.
“I have some health challenges so I’m doing okay today but I have a lot of health challenges at this point,” admitted Miller.
Despite a growing pile of medical bills, those close to her aren’t willing to give up on their leader and friend.
“She’s got to beat this. We need donations for her and I’m hoping the community gives back to her like she gave back to the community,” said Garvin.
Proceeding with treatment at the Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa comes with a price tag, but Miller and her friends fear it’s her last shot.
“Our next goal is to go to one of these national cancer centers and see if they can offer me something that I can’t get locally and that’s a big undertaking,” said Miller.
But friends like Garvin say it’s not impossible and are now seeking to raise money to not only save Miller but the driving force of a lot of good in a community that needs it.
For information on CHESED and how you can help Miller, click here.