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Luna-the-dog comforts kids who have cancer at Louisville hospital

Cancer patients at Norton Children's Hospital now have a furry friend to lift their spirits.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Norton Children's Hospital in Louisville has a new employee and she has four legs.

A 2-year-old black Labrador retriever named Luna works in the hospital's cancer unit, providing therapeutic support for kids receiving treatment.

More than 3,000 patients from 98 counties across Kentucky and Southern Indiana receive care from Norton Children’s Cancer Institute each year, according to a Norton press release.

Heather Stohr, Norton Healthcare manager, said dogs at the hospital not only make children more comfortable, but also allow them to verbalize their fears.

“Luna will provide support during a very challenging, and sometimes lengthy, journey for families,” Stohr said.

Aiden's Legacy, a fundraiser for the hospital, helped raise money used to employ Luna. Aiden Johnson, a two-time survivor of leukemia, is creating his legacy by supporting pediatric cancer patients at Norton Children’s Cancer Institute, where he was treated.

“Dogs are great, and they make me smile and laugh,” Aiden said. “It brings me happiness to be able to bring additional smiles and laughter to the kids with the Aiden’s Legacy dog, Luna.”

Aiden has raised more than $450,000 since 2013 and has committed to raising an additional $250,000 with the support of the Louisville community.

“Anything we can provide to help ease the stress of the diagnosis process and treatment for these kiddos is exactly what Aiden’s Legacy is all about, and who doesn’t get relaxed by the loving gaze from a special dog,” Gena Johnson, Aiden’s mom, said.

RaiseRED, the University of Louisville’s largest student-run philanthropic organization, provided funding to hire Luna’s handler. 

“Luna and the child life team make a huge difference in reducing the stress and anxiety patients and their families feel while in the hospital,” Addy Abels, raiseRED youth philanthropy coordinator, said.

Not only does Luna love helping children, but she also loves playing fetch, going for hikes, and playing with toys.

She also can play musical instruments, paint and play hide and seek. Click here to check out Luna's social media.

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