By jeff gallatin
Dogs are always there for their human companions, and the organizers for Sunday’s new Bark For Life event in North Olmsted Park said the event will be just another example of that.
This will be the first year for an American Cancer Society Bark For Life in North Olmsted, and the seventh for the Relay For Life. The Bark For Life will be from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday in the park. Event Chairwomen Deb Payne and Audra Hardin said the combination of North Olmsted’s past success with the relay along with the closeness of people and their dogs made the Bark For Life a natural for North Olmsted.
“Canine companions demonstrate unconditional love, joy, security, compassion and no judgements of cancer survivors’ abilities or appearances,” Payne said. “The Bark For Life is an irresistible way to partner with your canine best friend, smile and make new friends – canine and human.”
Hardin said just like people supporting family and friends who have cancer, dogs and their humans also are supportive of those they care about.
“Dogs are loyal and always take care of their people,” Hardin said.
Hardin said many dogs serve as caregivers for their human companions and that the event will honor their helping their people in so many different ways.
“Canine caregivers are companions as well as guide, service, rescue, therapy, police and diagnostic dogs,” she said. “There also are dogs who are cancer survivors and some dogs, like humans, die of cancer. This event allows people and their dogs to join the American Cancer Society as Relay teams.”
Both chairwomen noted that the teams are like Relay for Life teams and will honor people lost to cancer as support the cancer society’s mission of eliminating cancer through research, education, advocacy and service.
“We all have the goal of eliminating cancer, and this is another way of showing it,” Payne said.
Another longtime Relay participant, Ken Ball, who along with his wife Kathy owns and operates the North Olmsted Chick-fil-A, will be one of the primary speakers at the event. The Balls have been strong supporters of the Relay as well as many other community events and organizations for several years.
Ball said like most other families, his has been affected by cancer as well.
“My wife Kathy is a cancer survivor, and we’ve lost two Labrador dogs to cancer,” he said. “We certainly support the Relay and the Bark For life with that kind of history.”
Ball said many people can relate to fighting cancer, be it for people or for animals.
Both event chairwomen are acknowledged animal lovers, with Payne having dogs and Hardin cats. They said other animal lovers will also have ample opportunity to enjoy their companionship.
There will be a mile and half-mile walk for the participants with the cost $10 for one dog and $15 for two. There will be a variety of animal-related tables and displays. The Animal Protective League will be there with adoptable dogs and information. Payne said they also will be working on getting pictures for an animal-related calendar to support the cancer society.
For further information, call 440-777-2734 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.