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‘Bark for Life’ returns to Asbery Field
MARYSVILLE — With the 2012 Marysville/Tulalip Relay For Life in support of the American Cancer Society coming up on June 9-10, Relay teams and other community members are kicking their fundraising efforts up a notch.
On Saturday, May 19, not only did Relay teams take to the sidewalks of State Avenue between Fourth and Grove streets as part of the “Paint the Town Purple Days” from May 18-20 proclaimed by Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring, but last year’s “Bark For Life” returned to the Asbery Field track next to Totem Middle School.
“Last year, we had nearly 100 dogs and raised close to $10,000,” event chair Chris Ingram said two hours into the four-hour event. “This year, we’re looking at probably 50 dogs and about half the amount of money as last year as well. That’s still $5,000 more than we started with.”
It’s also well in excess of the original fundraising goal of $3,000 that Ingram had set for the first Bark For Life, before her fellow event coordinators, Scrub-a-Mutt fundraiser co-founders Jennifer Ward and Elizabeth Woche, urged her to shoot for $10,000 that year. Ingram herself had been pleased simply to beat the $1,200 raised by a similar event in Monroe the year prior to that first Bark For Life.
Woche and Ingram are both dog owners who have lost their mothers to cancer, and Ingram personally attested to the role that canines can play as caregivers for those battling cancer.
“When my mother was dying, her dog stayed with her right to the end,” Ingram said. “He would sleep just outside her door. The comfort that dogs can give people is priceless.”
“I have a coworker with two dogs who’s going through chemo right now,” said Jessica Kohler, a member of Relay team “Dog Gone It.” “They’re all she’s got at home, so they really give her a sense of purpose.”
Kohler’s “Dog Gone It” teammates, Jason and Noel Turk, credited the fellow dog owners whom they’ve met at the Strawberry Fields For Rover off-leash dog park with helping to make them aware of Bark For Life. Noel will be walking in this year’s Relay For Life for her father, Kevin Carrell Sr., and her uncle, Joseph Carrell, both of whom were claimed by cancer.
“My dad died when I was 5, and my uncle passed on around Thanksgiving of last year,” Noel Turk said. “I want to honor them by doing something to give other people with cancer a fighting chance.”
Ingram thanked Old Dog Haven of Arlington, the Northwest Organization for Animal Help in Stanwood and a number of other organizations and individuals for supporting Bark For Life and Relay For Life, including the businesses that have decorated their storefronts and windows with posters, balloons and the Relay For Life’s signature purple. Other merchants who are interested in doing the same prior to the Relay For Life on June 9-10 should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“When they finally find a cure, everyone who’s participated or donated or gotten the word out will be able to say they were part of it,” Ingram said.