Bark For Life is an extension of Relay For Life. Participants and their dogs walk around a course to raise cancer awareness. Teams host fundraisers and seek donations, and all proceeds go the American Cancer Society to support cancer research and care programs.
“Cancer doesn’t discriminate,” said Bark For Life co-chair Sharon Joseph. “Dogs get cancer too and receive treatment just like humans. In fact, some of the cancer drugs used to treat humans can also be used to treat dogs. Money raised during Relay and Bark For Life helps all walks of life.”
Joseph, a board member for the Brentwood Relay For Life, has lost two dogs to cancer and decided to bring Bark For Life to raise awareness. Joseph teamed with fellow Relay organizer Wanda Zimmerman to host Brentwood’s inaugural Bark For Life in collaboration with the Oakley Relay For Life. The Brentwood-Oakley Bark For Life is schedule for Saturday, July 21 at O’Hara Park School, 1100 O’Hara Ave. in Oakley. Registration is $25. Unlike Relay, Bark For Life runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. so that the furry participants don’t get uncomfortable in the summer heat.
The event features vendors, games, food (for dogs and humans) and an assortment of activities for everyone to enjoy. Since the canine participants are the stars of the event, they’ll receive a special goody bag. All dogs must remain on a leash during the event and be up-to-date with all their shots.
While Bark For Life supports the American Cancer Society, the pup party is also a chance to celebrate the dogs who have offered support to cancer patients in their time of need. Zimmerman, a cancer survivor, believes her dogs played a vital role in her fight against cancer.
“I adopted my first dog from a shelter after I was diagnosed the first time in 2003,” Zimmerman wrote in an e-mail. “Sammy helped me stay active and he kept my spirits up. Then fast forward to 2010 and Deano entered my life. I was walking the track at our Relay event and one of our planning committee members had pictures of dogs available for ‘free’ adoption that weekend. I instantly fell in love with his photo and adopted him from HALO. He’s younger than Sammy but has brought so much laughter into the house. It was 4 months later that I was diagnosed with a recurrence of my cancer from 2003. I just finished treatments in January and having both dogs really helped me.”
Joseph agreed: “Our dogs are always there to give us unconditional love no matter what we are going through. Bark For Life is a chance to say thank you.”
To register in advance online, visit www.relayforlife.org/barkbrentwoodca. For more information, call Joseph at 925-513-7762 or Zimmerman at 925-550-1381.