Bark For Life event allows dogs to take a bite out of cancer

The American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Bark For Life (BFL) of Williamsport event will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the South Williamsport Pool Complex located at East Central Avenue in South Williamport. Registration will begin at noon.

While bringing a dog to the event is not required, all community members are encouraged to bring their licensed and leashed canine best friends to participate in the event, which begins with a half-mile canine companion celebration walk and continues with dog demonstrations, contests and games for animals and children, food and trivia challenges and basket raffles.

In its sixth year, the Bark For Life of Williamsport, as with all ACS Bark For Life events being held nationwide, honors the life-long contributions of canine caregivers. Canine caregivers are guide, service, rescue, therapy and police dogs and cancer survivor dogs and diagnostic dogs.

These dogs join with their owners and the ACS to celebrate cancer survivorship, to honor people lost to cancer, to fundraise in support of cancer research, education, awareness, patient services, advocacy and to help eliminate the suffering that cancer causes worldwide.

Since 2009, the BFL of Williamsport has raised more than $26,000, with all proceeds going to the Relay For Life of Williamsport.

“The Bark for Life is such an extraordinary way to help raise funds to help move closer to our ultimate goal of a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

Where else do you get to spend time with your best friend? Enjoying the great outdoors and getting a little exercise is just an added bonus.

Each year, watching the dogs participate in the various contests is a sight to behold and seeing the kids participate in their games and activities is so much fun. It makes you feel like a kid yourself,” said Roxie Gohrig, a breast cancer survivor and founding member of the Bark For Life or Williamsport.

Ellen Bokeko, American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life specialist, said, “Bark For Life is an especially worthwhile event as it helps people realize how important the role of caregiver becomes to cancer patients.

Our canine friends give us comfort and companionship along with unconditional love whether we are healthy or sick. They can sense when we don’t feel well and try their best to help make us feel better.”

Bokeko said that the BFL has continued to grow bigger and better each year. “Reaching $5,000 this year would be awesome. I think we can do it,” she said.

“While my audacious goal is to have 500 dogs at the event one day, my goal is always to raise $1 more than we did last year,” Ghorig said.

In 2013, the Bark For Life of Williamsport raised $3,572.

“Bark For Life is a wonderful, fun-filled event that brings together the community for a great cause,” said Lindsey Douty, who has attended several of past Bark events. “My two dogs, Brie and Mia have a great time socializing with other dogs and participating in exciting activities such as the tail-wagging contest or the ice cream eating challenge.

It is truly a day devoted to our furry family members as well as supporting the American Cancer Society.”

There is a registration fee per dog, and each registered dog will receive a complimentary Bark For Life bandana.

Visit for more information about the event.

2014 upcoming Bark For Life events

2 p.m. Saturday, Selinsgrove Dog Park, BFL of Selinsgrove – Benefits the RFL of Selinsgrove.

Noon Sunday, South Williamsport Community Park, BFL of Williamsport – Benefits the RFL of Williamsport.

10 a.m. May 17, Brown Avenue Park, Milton, BFL of Milton – Benefits the RFL of Milton Area.

3 p.m. June 21, Mount Carmel Town Park, BFL of the Coal Region – Benefits the RFL of the Coal Region.