By John Nussbaum/SCVNews.com -- More than 90 walkers and their loving canines gathered at Bridgeport Park in Valencia Saturday for the first-ever “Bark For Life” fundraiser in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Under the tutelage of the American Cancer Society, the walk was a noncompetitive event for owners and dogs in the SCV to raise awareness and collect donations for the fight against cancer.
Andrea Gagnon and Roxy barked for life on Saturday.
The American Cancer Society was founded in 1913 in New York City by a group of physicians and business leaders. According to the ACS website, at that time, cancer was considered a death sentence. It was taboo to mention it in public , and it was not uncommon for doctors not to tell their patients they had cancer.
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Today, the ACS uses $1 billion in annual resources for research, medical care and outreach. The society has helped more than 11 million people in the United States to win their fight against cancer. On Saturday, walkers formed teams of eight to 15 people along with a “team captain” who recruits team members, organizes fundraising activities and keeps the team motivated.
The dog-walkers raised close to $11,000 during the event.
“We are here to honor all the canine companions in Santa Clarita who support those with cancer,” said walk organizer Donna Nuzzi. “There is an opportunity for people, when they are out here, to explore the many opportunities that we have in our community where dogs take a role in peoples lives.”
In attendance were many local area animal organizations such as the Seco Canyon Animal Clinic, Castaic Animal Shelter, as well as troops from the Delta Society and the Girl Scouts of America.
The Seco Canyon Animal clinic provided the musical entertainment for the day with the band Blond Faith.
Leading the procession was local cancer survivor and pug owner Heather Warick.
“For my cancer fight there is no better medicine than pugs,” Warick said as she addressed the crowd before the walk began. “Dogs are like humans, they have very unique personalities and all of them are hilarious and fun and provide warmth and peace in your life.”
For more information on the American Cancer Society and what you can do to help, visit the organization's website at Cancer.Org .