Best friends of the dog variety and their human companions will team up to support Cancer Council Victoria for the Australian-first event Bark For Life in Melbourne on Sunday 11 October.
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 events and will be held for the first time at Jells Park South in Wheelers Hill.
The event has highlighted Melbournians love for their dogs, with more than 150 people and 33 teams already registered to take part.
"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," Cancer Council Victoria Fundraising Director Andrew Buchanan said.
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.
Megan La Rose will be taking part in Bark For Life on Sunday with her dog Max in memory of her Dad, who passed away from cancer last year.
"Max knew early on that dad wasn't well and became a different dog during this time, one that would sit patiently at his side, lie at his feet and even once Dad had passed he would put his head on his chair and look as though he was there. This was an amazing experience for me and mum to witness," Megan said.
"I will be completing this walk with Max, who himself grieved for quite a while after losing Dad."
All funds raised through Bark For Life will go towards Cancer Council's research, prevention programs and support services.
Getting involved in Bark For Life is easy. People can register at the event on Sunday 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 run from 10am-2pm and also feature dog activities, dress up contests, team and community fundraising activities, music and food.
Find out more at www.cancervic.org.au/bark.