Annual Bark For Life scheduled for Saturday

Cynthia Brown, center, waves to the by-standers as she and her three-year-old Lab mix dressed in a Star Wars costume join dozens of participants in the Doggy Lap parade to officially open the American Cancer Society's Annual Bark For Life event held at Bridgeport Park in 2017. This years event will be held Oct. 27 at West Creek Park from 8 a.m. - 12 p.m,. Dan Watson/The Signal

The American Cancer Society is scheduled to host its annual Bark for Life event Saturday to raise funds and awareness for the fight against cancer, alongside their four-legged friends.

“We believe very strongly, that canine companionship is very valuable for cancer patients while going through treatment,” said Kathleen Pavard, co-chair of the event.

This years event is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon at West Creek Park, located at 24247 Village Circle.

The event began in 2011, since dogs aren’t permitted at their annual Relay for Life event in May, they created another event for community members to bring their dogs, Pavard said.

The fun-filled day will include a short walk, demonstrations, contests, games and a free goody bag.

Guest speaker, Julie Visner, a longtime Bark For Life and Relay For Life participant, will speak at the opening ceremony.

“Julie is a multiple myeloma patient who knows the importance of that special bond with our four-legged friends during treatment,” according to the event’s webpage.

“It’s one huge carnival for pets and families,” Pavard said. “The owners always want to participate in the contests.”

Their will ice cream for all participants, including the dogs, she said. The Ice cream is free to participants thanks to the sponsorship of Augusta Financial and Tracy Grant from Remax.

Pictures will be taken by local photographer, Brooke Edwards, owner of Brooke Ritter Photography.

Three rescue agencies will have booths and pets looking for a forever home.

With the event so close to Halloween, the organizers created a Halloween dog costume contest with different categories.

Seven-month-old pitbull-Lab mix Rey, tolerates her Star Wars costume as she waits for the Doggy Lap parade to begin at the American Cancer Society’s Annual Bark For Life event held at Bridgeport Park in Valencia on Saturday. This years event will be held Oct. 27 at West Creek Park from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m,.Dan Watson/The Signal

“(The event) gives us a chance to honor cancer patients and their caregivers,” Pavard said. “It gives them a fun day away from the medical treatment they are going through.”

Pavard has volunteered with the American Cancer Society for 20 years, and believes in their mission—to free the world from cancer.

“Until we do, we’ll be funding and conducting research, sharing expert information, supporting patients, and spreading the word about prevention. All so you can live longer — and better,” according to the organizations website.

Organizers alongside Pavard have been volunteering for more than 15 years, for the non-profit that is near and dear to their hearts, she said. “This event is a chance for dogs to be loved and love one another.”

Participants can find more information or register online at, as an individual or team.

All proceeds go back to the American Cancer Society.

“It’s absolute joy for everyone, brings the whole family together even the canine members,” Pavard said.

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