GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — It began as a simple mission to help a friend nearly two decades ago. Fast forward to today, and “Paws Parade of Hope” is now helping others battle cancer.

“My girlfriend from since the first grade had colon cancer and metastasized to the liver and basically had a death sentence,” said organizer Susan Gee.

Gee’s brother died from cancer and she did not want to lose her best friend to the disease.

“I sought out another cancer clinic for her and 20 weeks later she was back to work,” said Gee.

While Gee’s friend, Linda, was recovering, it was a four-legged family member that made a world of difference.

“When she came to stay with us, for four days of the week when she was going through treatment, and she took so much healing and comfort in my Yorkie,” added Gee.

And that’s how “Paws Parade of Hope” began.

“I wanted to incorporate them into our cancer fundraiser for that reason, so they kind of became our entertainment when we had the live event,” Gee said.

It’s meant to honor the pets that we love and the benefits they bring to people battling cancer. A silent auction is going on now and it’s completely virtual.

“We get donations out-of-state, you know, and I even had one out of the country,” she said.

This year, more than ever, is close to Susan’s heart.

“My girlfriend is battling cancer now again. She’s doing really well with it. You know, it’s 20 years later. 20 years older, so it’s a little tougher road,” said Gee.

All the money raised stays here in northeast Wisconsin and benefits Community Benefit Tree of Northeast Wisconsin.

The event is virtual for 2022. You can visit the group’s Facebook page to vote in the online pet fashion contest. The silent auction runs until Sept. 25. To view the silent auction, or make a bid, go here.