The American Cancer Society held its “Bark for Life” fundraiser at Canyon Country Community Center on Sunday, featuring booths and competitions for dogs and their owners alike, focused on honoring cancer survivors, spreading information about reducing cancer risks, and raising money for the ACS to help the organization save lives.
“Bark for Life is an event for the American Cancer Society to raise funds for cancer research for dogs and people,” said Erin Lewis, one of many attendees who was running a carnival-style booth for guests. Lewis’ booth encouraged visitors to throw a coin into one of a series of tin cans in exchange for a prize. She added that raising funds for dogs is important because “they’re the best companion to have for our human cancer patients.”
Many of the other vendors were representing different companies that also appealed to both dog owners and those interested in cancer research. Krystal DeBiasio, who owns a homemade crafts store named “Krystify,” set up her own booth with wares aimed at the event’s target audience.
“I tried to focus more on dog-themed items,” DeBiasio said. “I do custom orders for holidays, birthdays, anything you want to come up with.”
“We raise money for the things we sell or the things we do, like the agility portion and raffle baskets, and we raise it for the American Cancer Society,” said event volunteer Sue Tull. “All of us that are here with our bundles, we’re selling something, and all of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.”
Many of those volunteering their time for the ACS have done so multiple times over the years. In the case of Harley Scroggins, a caricature artist who was offering to draw visitors’ dogs during the event, she has been working to support cancer research for 17 years.
“I have family members and friends that I’ve lost to cancer or are fighting cancer, and it’s just very near and dear to my heart and a worthwhile cause,” Scroggins said, adding that she was initially motivated to pursue canine caricatures by those close to her.
“Everyone knows I’m an artist, and they were like, ‘Harley, you need to do caricatures,’” Scroggins said. “And I said, ‘I will not do people, but I’ll draw dogs.’”
For both guests and vendors, the biggest draw of the fundraiser was being able to spend a day at the park with their furry friends for a good cause. By encouraging others to rally together in the name of both pets and people, the American Cancer Society raised over $8,000 in support of the event.
“It’s a great way to bring the community together, especially with dogs,” DeBiasio said. “Knowing how cancer also affects dogs, it’s great awareness and a fun way to get everyone involved.”