COLUMBIA — Helping the fight against cancer can be as simple as walking your dog.
Bark For Life, a fundraiser to benefit the American Cancer Society, will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 8 at Cosmo-Bethel Park, 4500 Bethel St. Dogs will join their owners and other participants in teams to raise money to develop new technology, fund research and help individual cancer patients.
Call Lauren Lineweber, community manager at Columbia American Cancer Society, toll free at 800-429-7753, ext. 7613, or 443-0979.
Also, go to bark4life.org.
People have previously wanted to bring their dogs to Relay for Life, the society's annual overnight event, but because of insurance issues and the number of people involved in that event they were unable to, said Aaron Boone, a local American Cancer Society volunteer.
Boone said the event will emphasize the benefits of having a canine companion during the fight against cancer. Dogs are good for cancer patients who need that extra push in the morning, he said.
"We're going to get a whole new niche (of people) involved." Boone said. He said he has personally seen what a dog can do for someone who is fighting cancer.
The event will be during the day, unlike Relay For Life, which typically lasts for 12 or 24 hours and runs well into the night.
Boone said that businesses are receptive to donating and sponsoring for this event. Several businesses that haven't sponsored Relay for Life in the past have signed up after hearing dogs were involved, he said. Also, Bark For Life organizers are currently trying to find a veterinarian or veterinarian staff to stand by at the event in the case of emergency situations.
All kinds of dogs are invited, including rescue dogs, therapy dogs, police dogs, cancer surviving dogs and family dogs.
There will also be a "Fight Back" Ceremony, where an inspirational speaker will ask participants to make a personal commitment to help prevent cancer in their own lives.
Wednesday morning Mayor Bob McDavid signed a proclamation stating support of the event and encouraged residents to become involved, Boone said.