Four-legged fundraing event coming to town

Okotoks: Bark for Life event to fight cancer and honour companionship

By: Roxanne Blackwell

  |  Posted: Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 12:58 pm

Siobhan Doherty, Cheryl-lyn Carlson and her dog Freckles, and Britney Moxley are planning the Bark for Life event in Okotoks on Oct. 18 in Cimarron Park.
Siobhan Doherty, Cheryl-lyn Carlson and her dog Freckles, and Britney Moxley are planning the Bark for Life event in Okotoks on Oct. 18 in Cimarron Park.
Roxanne Blackwell/OWW

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Bark for Life

Where: Cimarron Park
When: October 18, 12-3 p.m.
Cost: Participant fee is $10, and while there is no minimum fundraising requirement, the suggested amount is $100.
Visit cancer.ca/barkforlife to register individually or as a team.

Okotoks residents will have a chance to get their feet moving and their tails wagging in an effort to fight back against cancer this fall.

The Canadian Cancer Society is hosting a “Bark for Life” event in town on Oct. 18 at Cimarron Park. Similar to their signature Relay for Life events, teams can enter to participate in the three hour fundraising event where people can celebrate loved ones who were lost, are fighting, or survived cancer– but the focus will be on our four legged friends.

“The Candian Cancer Society honours all kinds of caregivers, and we had a lot of our cancer survivors come back and say ‘My dog was my caregiver, my dog was always there for me, my dog was there after my chemo treatments, my dog was really my support,’” said Siobhan Doherty with the Cancer Society. “We wanted to create an event where we can honour this special type of relationship and understand that dogs are part of people’s families and they are a type of caregiver during the cancer journey.”

It’s the second time the event is being held in Alberta, but the first time in Okotoks. Okotoks resident and volunteer Cheryl-lyn Carlson became active with the Canadian Cancer Society four years ago after surviving cancer herself. Since then, she’s pledged to do everything she can to stop the disease.

“I always say I never want my girls to hear those words ‘you have cancer,’” she said. “So everyone, including myself, should do anything they can so their family members never hear those words, and anything we can do to help support that and get rid of this awful five letter word is a bonus.”

Carlson said her dog Freckles absolutely played a role in her cancer journey, not just in supporting her, but comforting her family as well.

“It’s a beautiful idea because they are unconditional caregivers and anyone that has ever gone through cancers or knows anyone that has gone through cancers that has animals, they know they unconditionally will be there by your side,” she said. “No matter what you look like, how you're feeling, they're there to support you.”

Volunteer Britney Moxley said the next step is to get the word out and get people to start registering for the event.

“We’re hoping to bring more awareness to the Canadian Cancer Society out in Okotoks and bring more of the community together,” she said. “And respect that people have dogs and they really truly are our number one companion.”

On the day of the event, Doherty said there will be a relay for people and their dogs, as well as food, different booths to visit, dog agility, contests, and prizes. Even if you don’t have a dog, she still encourages everyone to come out and participate.

“It’s just about taking the time to fight back against the disease and doing a really great community fundraiser, and Okotoks has a ton of dogs,” she said.

Info box:

Event date: October 18, 12-3 p.m.

Location: Cimarron Park

Visit cancer.ca/barkforlife to register individually or as a team.

Cost: Participant fee is $10, and while there is no minimum fundraising requirement, the suggested amount is $100.


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