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Bark for Life raises funds for American Cancer Society

(Oct. 4, 2013) Relay for Life raises millions of dollars each year to fund cancer research and provide information and services to cancer patients and their caregivers.

A pet-friendly offshoot of Relay, Bark For Life, is back for its fourth year this Saturday, Oct. 5, at Fort Whaley Campground in Whaleyville, raising money to support Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society.

Bark for Life celebrates the lives of two- and four-legged loved ones diagnosed with cancer and remembers those who lost their fight against the disease. It is an afternoon of games, costumes and prizes to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

“Bark for Life is a great time,” said four-year participant Patti Adams, owner of Ruff Cuts pet service in Ocean Pines. “It’s a blast, and you get to laugh a lot with your dogs.”

The event features Relay classics with a canine twist. For $10, participants can purchase “Barkanaries,” sugar pumpkins with paw prints that hold the name of a loved one (two- or four-legged) that has been affected by cancer. Other popular events are back this year, including the bone drop, diamond dig and jail break.

The bone drop is a 50/50 raffle in which participants purchase bones for $10 each. Up to 100 bones will fall from the sky, and the one landing closest to a target earns its buyer half of the money raised.

For $20, participants can also register for the diamond dig, where human-dog pairs dig for a buried paperweight. The team to find the weight wins a prize from Pandora.

Volunteers in western sheriff costumes will also take participants to “jail,” where they wait until someone donates the $5 “bail.”

“It’s a good opportunity to get out and spend the day with your family and to do something with your dog,” Bark For Life Chairwoman Allison Stokely said. “It’s a great event.”

There will be corncob-shelling contests, a candy corn relay, spider crawl and seed spitting contest. For children, there will be a moon bounce, pony rides, face painting and carnival-style games.

A disc jockey will play music throughout the day, and more than a dozen vendors will offer wares from jewelry to pet treats. At 2 p.m., the Wicomico Sheriffs Office will give a K-9 demonstration.

Each Bark For Life has a different theme, and this year’s is Halloween. Pets and their owners are encouraged to dress to the theme and will have the chance to compete in a costume contest with prizes.

Last year, Bark For Life raised $2,800 toward cancer research, and with an RV convention at Fort Whaley next weekend, Stokely hopes for an even better turnout in 2013.

All proceeds from Bark for Life go to Relay for Life, scheduled for May 9, 2014 at Fort Whaley’s sister campground at Frontier Town on Route 611 in West Ocean City.

“Relay has a goal every year,” Stokely said. “The money that we make helps them reach their goal.”

Registration for Bark For Life starts at 11 a.m. and the walk kicks off at noon. The cost to participate is $20 for a human-dog pair, $10 for a second dog (no more than two dogs per person), or $5 per solo person. Owners should provide a paper copy of their dogs’ rabies vaccinations.

For more information, search for “American Cancer Society Bark for Life of Northern Worcester County” on Facebook, visit www.relayforlife.org/barknorthworcestermd, or contact Stokely at 410-430-9156 or tstokesgrl@comcast.net.

Fort Whaley Campground is located at 11224 Dale Road in Whaleyville, off Route 50.

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