WEST PORTSMOUTH — ‘Bark for Life’ is an American Cancer Society (ACS) Relay For Life fundraising event that honors the care giving qualities of canine companions and supports the ACS life-saving mission.
Carley Harris, co-team captain of the Relay for Life team for the Southern Ohio Medical Center Cancer Center, said this is the first local attempt to host a ‘Bark for Life’ event.
“This is an event that the American Cancer Society sponsors, it is trade marked, ‘Bark for Life, and is something that is done all over the country, but no one in Scioto County has ever done this,” Harris said. This is canine event to bring cancer awareness is what this really is. We know a lot of times dogs are caregivers themselves when people have cancer, sometimes their pets are their best friends. And so, we are just celebrating cancer awareness by bringing out your dog and giving them, as well as the pet owner to be active.”
Participating dogs can engage in an obstacle course set up for them.
“There is an obstacle course set up in the yard, and we are doing a frisbee-toss competition. We are going to give awards for cutest dog, littlest dog, best dog trick,” Harris said.
All of the proceeds for ‘Bark for Life’ will go towards the American Cancer Society.
“We have Shawnee Animal Clinic here. There is an independent groomer who is here to provide free nail trims, and she is going to donate the proceeds back to the American Cancer Society,” Harris said. “It provides money for cancer patients, rides to and from doctors appointments, meals, and things that many times are not even thought of.”
Judges for the event included Brooklyn McBee, miss River Days of 2015, Lucas Wright of Crossfit Alpha Pack, Juanita “Skeeter” Smith, who is a cancer survivor.
Smith said she is delighted to serve as one of the judges, and know from her personal experience of cancer related needs.
“I am a two-time cancer survivor. I had breast cancer in 2011, and it was discovered through a routine mammogram, and then 2012 I was having a Cat Scan done, and they discovered kidney cancer,” Smith said. “Cancer in our community is just unreal. The number of people that are diagnosed with different forms of cancer is really high. People need to come out and give back. It is not all about breast cancer, or kidney cancer. It is about all cancer. Relay for Life covers all cancers.”
Smith volunteers for the Cancer Center and said they provide a variety of things to cancer patients.
“The Cancer Resource Center that is inside of the Cancer Center, we give away free wigs to cancer patients, and a host of other things when they visit my office,” Smith said. “We help them with anything that they need, hats, wraps for their heads. It is a great thing.”
Harris said they expect to make Bark for Life an annual event.
“We ended up having 23 dogs register and raised almost $700 for the American Cancer Society,” Harris said. “I think we had a decent turnout considering the weather and this being our first one. I believe we are going to try to make it an annual event. “
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.