Friday, October 31, 2014 • 06:27
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Bark For Life – A canine event to fight cancer



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Last year's Honorary Chair Dog for Bark For Life. photo by Contributed images.
August 27, 2014
Valley Center's second annual Bark For Life is looking for this year's Honorary Chair Dog. The winning dog will have the prestigious honor of starting off the walk at 8 a.m. on Sept. 20 at Bates Nut Farm located at 15954 Woods Valley Road in Valley Center.

To honor the lifelong contributions of canine companions and caregivers, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is sponsoring the Relay Event. Valley Center Bark For Life is on the lookout for cancer survivors whose canine companions have played a significant role in their care and wellbeing while undergoing treatment.

"We are looking for stories about the dog companions of cancer survivors or someone they know who is a survivor," said Lori Lallo Event Coordinator.

Stories and photos can be submitted to barkforlifevc@gmail.com or mailed to Bark For Life Valley Center P.O. Box 1822 Valley Center, CA 92082. The winning dog will be selected from submitted entries by The Relay For Life Valley Center Committee. All entries must be received by Sept. 16 to be judged. The winner will be notified Sept. 17.

The ACS helps save more than 400 lives each day with the support of thousands of volunteers. Bark For Life and Relay For Life offer an inspirational opportunity to honor cancer survivors, raise funds to help end cancer, and educate individuals about reducing cancer risks.

"This is a canine walk to show gratitude to help our survivors," Lallo said. "It's four hours of fun-filled activity for them."

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A survivor and her canine pal walk laps at the Bark For Life Relay Event. photo by Contributed images.
The Opening Ceremony of Bark For Life begins at 9 a.m. This brings everyone together for a high-energy start. The kick-off event inspires hope by sharing recent progress and accomplishments and celebrates the lives of those who have battled cancer.

The Survivors Start Off Walk follows at 9:20 a.m. Upbeat music plays during the survivors' lap as cancer survivors take the first lap around the track. Surrounding the track are participants who cheer the contestants on while celebrating their own victory over the disease.

A silent auction is held from 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Approximately 30 vendors will offer a vast array of items to select from from the hours of 8 a.m. until noon. On hand will be Chubby's Food Truck catering to hungry participants. Highlights of the canine event are three contests: The Super Hero, Kiss-Off, and Bark-Off Contests.

The event ends with the closing ceremony at 11:45 a.m. This final ceremony is devoted to remembering the lives of those lost battling the fight against cancer. It is also a time to celebrate the commitment of those who have participated in a Relay Event to fight back against this disease.

The emcee hosting Bark For Life is Gary Lee, KSON personality and host of Living Better in San Diego.

Also in attendance will be the Luratics All Breed Coursing Club of San Diego as well as Hidden Valley Obedience of Escondido.

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These two women and their pooches walked for the cause last year. photo by Contributed images.
With 33 participants and six teams, $4,183 has already been raised for the event. The top dog packs raising the most funds are: 1) Paws 4 The Cause

2) Team Z

3) Dog Walkers of San Diego

4) M & M

5) Canine Crusades Conquering Cancer

In addition, every participant raising $100 is rewarded with a Bark For Life T-shirt.

The Relay For Life is a movement in which each year more than four million people in communities in over 20 countries raise funds and awareness to save lives from cancer. During a Relay Event, survivors and participants celebrate what they've overcome. It is a time when those lost to the disease are remembered and people who are fighting cancer are honored. The Relay Event inspires participants to take action against a destructive disease.

The ACS mission statement is: "The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service."

The ACS international mission statement is: "The American Cancer Society's international mission concentrates on capacity building in developing cancer societies and on collaboration with other cancer-related organizations throughout the world in carrying out shared strategic directions."

According to the ACS, one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Cancer is indiscriminate and doesn't know boundaries. For those suffering from the disease, they are fortunate if they have a furry, four-legged companion by their side to comfort them on the road to recovery. Canine companions show unconditional love, compassion, joy, and security. They harbor no judgments of the cancer survivor's abilities or appearance.

Tickets for the event are $20 or $15 if registered online.

For more information on the walk that takes place from 8 a.m. until noon, visit: www.relayforlife.com/barkvalleycenterca.

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