Pooches pound pavement for Cancer Council

Tuesday 16 June, 2015

The special love and care that only a canine best friend can provide will be celebrated at Bark For Life, an Australian-first fundraising event where dogs and their human pals can team up to support Cancer Council Victoria.

Bark For Life is the first fundraising event in the country that honours the caring qualities of dogs during a cancer experience. The daytime event is an offshoot of the popular Relay For Life and will be held for the first time at Jells Park in Wheelers Hill on Sunday 11th October, 2015.

Canines aren't just for cuddles. Research shows that not only do dogs provide companionship for those with cancer but they can also lower their owner's blood pressure, decrease stress and anxiety, improve their owner's mood, increase their levels of activity and act as a social magnet - all of which can aid in cancer treatment and recovery.

At today's event launch Cancer Council Victoria Fundraising Director Andrew Buchanan said: "Dog owners know their best friends are there no matter what happens. Bark For Life is a chance for all of us to give thanks to the four-legged supporters who are there for the almost 30,000 Victorians diagnosed with cancer each year, while raising vital funds for cancer research, prevention and support.

"I'd encourage dog lovers from across Victoria to gather the pack, and start barking back against cancer at this unique event."

Lisa Westphal was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2007, and her Staffy-cross Spike kept her company throughout her treatment.

"When I was having a bad day, just the simple act of patting Spike helped me stay positive. During six months of treatment my husband and kids would go to work and school leaving me home - but I was never really alone as Spike would always be there to keep me company."

Spike also played a significant role in Lisa's recovery, and helped her on the way to becoming cancer-free.

"As my strength built up, he was a great excuse to go to the park for short walks and over time I built up my energy with longer walks," she said. Lisa is now fully recovered, and manages the Relay for Life program at Cancer Council Victoria.

Getting involved in Bark For Life is easy. People can register online, get fundraising and gather together on October 11 to complete a walk to honour cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and celebrate the caring qualities of dogs during a cancer experience.

The event will also feature dog activities, dress up contests, team and community fundraising activities, music and food.

Register now at www.cancervic.org.au/bark

Updated: 16 Jun, 2015