The fight against cancer will go to the dogs as the American Cancer Society’s Bark For Life of the Northwoods event takes place this summer. Area pooches, with owners in tow, will take to the path to get a leash on cancer. Bark For Life adds a twist to the society’s traditional Relay For Life event, serving as a fundraising activity to honor the care-giving qualities of canine companions while supporting the mission of the American Cancer Society and the fight against cancer. Last year’s event raised more than $5,100 leading to the event being awarded 2013 Top Wisconsin Bark for Life event.
This non-competitive walk is planned for Aug. 23, 2014 at the 4-H training area at the Rhinelander Oneida County Airport.
“Many pet owners consider their dogs a part of their family, especially those furry friends who lend a great amount of comfort and support during a loved one’s cancer battle,” Carol Lofquist, event chairperson, said. “Bark For Life is the canine counterpart to Relay For Life, a very family friendly movement that celebrates our canine caregivers, just as we honor other family members who support their loved ones who are fighting cancer during Relay For Life. The event begins at 9 am and ends at 1 pm, just long enough to enjoy some special time with our favorite companions.”
“We are looking for anyone interested in helping to plan this memorable event to join us in the planning process. The meetings are the fourth Monday of each month starting at 5:30 p.m. at the YMCA in Rhinelander,” Diane Geis Hapka, American Cancer Society Staff Partner, said. “This event is a fundraiser supporting Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society. People who do not participate in Relay find the Bark For Life event to be a fun alternative for them to participate in the fight against cancer.”
Last year’s event included a memorial walk, entertainment, personal stories, refreshments, music, raffles and a chance for the dogs of all sizes to try out their talents on the agility equipment in the safety of the Rhinelander Oneida County Airport 4-H training area operated by TLC Dog Training with Love, the presenting sponsor of the 2013 event.
“When a survivor came to me and said she prayed we would do this event again because the atmosphere was so wonderful, we knew we had a winning event,” Lofquist said. “We all recognize the caregiving qualities of our dogs. Many of us have lost dogs to cancer. Medicine used to treat our pets has been discovered through research done for humans. This event provides the chance to remember all loved ones who have battled this terrible disease, friends, family and our pets.”
Perhaps, this is why the event has been so good for our area. In the Northwoods, our dogs are not only members of the family but, our hunting companions, working dogs and for many of us, our caregivers when we are not feeling well. This event allows those with dogs or those without a dog who appreciate their qualities, a chance to come together and fight against a disease no one should have to battle. This year Ministry Health Care joins in sponsoring this event, recognizing the impact our pets have in our physical and mental well-being.
Event posters and registration forms can be found throughout the community and at local businesses including feed stores and veterinary offices.
Registration for the event can also be done online at www.RelayForLife.org/BarkNorthwoodsWI or by calling Diane Hapka at 715-277-4392. Businesses and individuals interested in sponsoring the event should also contact Hapka.
Funds raised through Bark For Life support the American Cancer Society’s comprehensive cancer-fighting mission to help people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early, to help people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis, to find cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery, and to fight back against cancer by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight.