Boyertown/Oley Valley Bark For Life set for Oct. 2
Cancer survivors Bob Olock and his wife Ruthanne discuss the healing power of dogs
For those affected by cancer, it is friends and family that come together to help them fight the long and intensive struggle — pushing through daily hardship to stay strong while their loved one battles a deadly disease. But what about the dogs? Survivors Bob Olock and his wife Ruthanne realized the importance of dogs in the fight against cancer, and responded by starting a local Bark For Life event to honor these four legged heroes.
The 4th annual Bark for Life is to be held Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Oley Fairgrounds.
“People with cancer need strong passionate people to be with them” said Ruthanne, “The treatments are important, but it’s still important to have the compassion and the care. And who gives youmore of that than a dog?”
Bob Olock has been involved with the Relay for A local family poses with their dog at last year’s Boyertown/Oley Valley Bark For Life.
Life for 11 years. While he and his wife are both loving dog owners, it wasn’t until only four years ago that Bob started the Boyertown/Oley Valley Bark For Life.
“I was a volunteer with the Pottstown Bark For Life for awhile,” he said, “So, I thought we could start one here in Boyertown.”
The Bark For Life, similar to the Relay For Life, is a community event with various games, raffles, food, and live music.
Boyertown businesses such as Sweet Beginnings, Simply Sherry’s Bakery, and Harry’s Tattoo parlor will also be attending.
The only difference? Peo-
ple sign up their dogs to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Some of the canine amenities will include dog grooming, a dog photo booth where guests can take pictures with their pooch, and also the annual pet costume contest.
In addition, Dr. Patt’s veterinarian hospital of Gilbertsville will be on site to offer pet care andmicrochipping services.
Besides the vendors and entertainment, the Bark for Life is more than just a fundraiser — the dogs, the families, and the community are all there to not only help find a cure, but also to help and support people who have ann Members of Boyertown Area Senior High’s Interact Club volunteered at the face painting and games table at last year’s Bark for Life.
are currently battling cancer.
“People think about cancer, and think that there’s surgery and there’s treatment, and that’s all there is to it. And that’s not all there is to it,” said Ruthanne, “I’ve seen people sit in a chair and wait for their treatment — and they look sad. If there’s someone else there with them, you’ll be amazed to see the difference a few minutes can make. Right away, you’ll see it in their eyes and their smile.”
Ruthanne herself is a 34year cancer survivor and has also been battling polio
since she was four. While she is a huge part of the Relay for Life, she believes there is something special about the dogs.
“When you attend one of these events, it’s amazing,” she said, adding how the event “brings a little something extra. You’d be surprised how you meet people whose dog is a very big part of their family.
All proceeds fromtheBark For Life will go directly to the American Cancer Society to help fund research for a cure. The money raised could also help dogs with cancer, as
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most research done for cancer in humans is applicable to cancer in canines.
Last year the Bark for Life raised between $5000$6000 for the American Cancer Society. This year, Bob hopes to hit $7,500 in donations. However, to him and Ruthanne the money raised isn’t really what’s important.
“To me, the money is great, don’t get me wrong,” said Bob, “But it’s about people who are afflicted with cancer and their families coming together for a day and having a blast.”