By Tia Lynn Ivey
The fifth annual Bark for Life is just around the corner. This family-friendly event invited the entire community, and their pups, to a celebration of cancer survivors and their canine companions, with proceeds from Bark for Life splits between the Humane Society of Morgan County and Relay for Life.
“This is our fifth year and we want to make it a great one,” said Beth Bradley, one of the event’s organizers and a cancer survivor herself. . “We want to get the entire community involved by bringing their families and their dogs to the park,” said Bradley.
Bark for Life will be held on Saturday, April 1, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bill Wood Park, located at 1000 Heritage Park Circle in Madison. The deadline to register for a free t-shirt is March 25. Lunch plates will be served for up to $3, which will include chips, a drink, and choice between hotdogs, hamburgers, and pizza. The food is being donated by the local Wal-Mart and Ingles. Both “people ice cream” and “doggy ice cream” from Scoops in Madison will be available for a separate donation. Attending dogs will receive a bandana and doggie goodie bag. There will be face-painting, coloring areas, a profession balloon-maker, and a bouncy house for children. Nail-clipping for the pups will be available for $5. And family photos with dogs will be available for a small donation. “The local merchants all around Madison, Social Circle and Covington have donated to make this event happen. We want to give a special shout out to them. That’s what makes the event possible,” said Bradley.
“This event is open to everyone,” said Bradley. “There is something for everyone, even if you haven’t been affected by cancer, it’s a great cause to come out and support while having a lot of fun.”
Bradley hopes Bark for Life will bring in much-needed funds for both the Humane Society and the Morgan County Relay for Life, as well as raise awareness for both organization and the work they do for the community.
“You have these great organizations that are doing such important work. This money will go toward cancer research and toward caring for the animals in our community in need of a home,” said Bradley. “Most importantly it makes people aware of cancer survivors and the work we do at the Humane Society, not only in this county, but in the eight surrounding counties that we rescue from.”
According to Tim George, the new director of the Humane Society of Morgan County, events like Bark for Life are imperative to the organization’s survival. “We are a non-profit. We operate solely on donations and do not get any money from the government,” said George. “I am looking forward to this event and hope it has a good turnout. It not only gets more exposure for us, but it lets the public see what we do and its also great to work with cancer survivors.”
Last year, Bark for Life raised about $6000 for both organizations. Bradley is hoping to surpass last year’s earnings. Bradley, organizer of the event, is passionate about this event, as she herself is a cancer survivor who was greatly encouraged during her battle with cancer through the love and companionship of her dogs.
“A dog can be a great companion and caregiver. They are always on your side giving unconditional love,” explained Bradley. “Celebrate your dog for being a great family member and support two very important local charities while having a lot of fun!” Bradley has two beagle-mix breeds, Madison and Morgan, that she adopted from the Humane Society. While Bradley rescued these stray pups, it was these dogs that were the real lifesavers for Bradley. “We now have two special doggies, Morgan and Madison. They are growing up as loving caregivers and supporters of local charities,’ said Bradley. “I have been in remission from the last stages of Hodgkin’s Disease for over 20 years,’ shared Bradley, who appreciated the unconditional love and support only a dog can give. “They have been by my side during good times and sick times. They were there when I would come home from the checkups at the doctor office. There is nothing better than a doggy hug and kiss.”
The Humane Society, in addition to being a non-profit organization, is also a no-kill shelter. Funds for the Morgan Relay for Life will be used for not only cancer research, but for community programs that assist cancer patients and survivors. Relay for Life gives funds to the Hope Lodge, which helps cancer patients who struggle to pay for their treatments and the Cancer Hotline, that connects patients and caregivers to medical professionals available to answer questions they have about cancer. The cancer help-line number is 1-800-227-2345.
Bradley is hoping the entire community will rally together to raise funds for this very important cause. “Almost everyone nowadays knows someone who is affected by cancer,’ said Bradley. Bradley devotes much of her time to helping others through Relay for Life and public speaking. Bradley’s message is diligence in preventative care. “I am a walking miracle,” said Bradley. “I ignored the signs my body was giving me and I ended up being diagnosed with stage four cancer. I don’t want anybody else to ever have to go through that.” “Believe me, you don’t want to go through what I went through. Take the time to get yourself checked regularly. Make the time because you are playing with danger if you don’t,’ added Bradley. To register for the event, or to find out how to make a donation, contact Beth Bradley at: (770) 377-9244 or The Humane Society of Morgan County at (706) 343-9977. You can also email: email@example.com or visit: https://www.facebook.com/MadisonBarkForLife.