Many enthusiastic two- and four-legged walkers filed into McVicker Canyon Park in Lake Elsinore Sunday to participate in the non-competitive “Bark for Life.”
The event saw humans and canines join together in support of cancer patients. Bark For Life is a companion event to the national Relay for Life -- both are sponsored by the American Cancer Society and raise funds and awareness in the fight against the deadly disease.
Since family pets play an important role in comforting those afflicted, Bark For Life honors the care-giving qualities of dogs.
On Sunday, dogs big and small, some dressed in costumes, paraded around a track at McVicker to show support.
The event is something to howl about, according to volunteer Relay for Life Chairperson Jennifer Hamm.
“Last year this event raised $6,000 toward the funding of the Lake Elsinore Relay for Life, which raised $96,000 last year,” Hamm said.
Twenty-one vendors and the many walk participants kicked off the event with a moment of silence to remember those lost to cancer.
Attendees included a special guest appearance by local top dog Thunder, the mascot of the Lake Elsinore Diamond Stadium. Thunder led participants in a dance routine and took photos with kids and dogs.
Many individuals attended to support and celebrate life through cancer survivors.
Pat Gull and Cherie Hunter turned out to celebrate the life of their friend, Grace Hutchinson. The “Amazing Grace” team reveled in support of the fight against Hutchinson’s recent diagnosis of invasive lobular carcinoma on June 6, 2010.
“The diagnosis does not develop into a lump but is a thickening of cancer cells strung together and discovered through mammogram screening,” explained Hutchinson, who was on hand Sunday.
Although still seeking treatment, Hutchinson is hopeful.
“I am looking forward to my upcoming June 21st birthday,” she said.
Joy Demeta, 56, a resident of Lake Elsinore attended in honor of her sister, a thyroid cancer survivor.
“I shaved my head in support of her,” Demeta said as she walked with her service dog Regal. “I support cancer walks because I know so many people afflicted -- and also some dogs.”