Canines lend paws to cancer fight

PUHI — Plans for next year’s Bark for Life started sprouting even before the first canine walkers and their human companions made the circle-the-campus loop Sunday.

Katie Burleson, the community development manager for the American Cancer Society, Kaua‘i Chapter, said this is only the second year American Cancer Society rolled out the Bark for Life event.

“This is Kaua‘i’s second event which, means we were part of the national Bark for Life launch last year,” Burleson said. “This year, we had more monies raised with more dogs registered than last year. And it was still Saturday night.”

Susan Uchida of the event organizing committee agreed, noting the Bark for Life had more than 50 canine registered Sunday with more than $3,000 raised.

Burleson said in addition to Kaua‘i, the Big Island also hosted its second Bark for Life, O‘ahu and Guam will host its first Bark for Life shortly.

In addition to the walk, canine and their companions could indulge in a variety of games including a hot dog eating contest, one for small dogs and one for bigger dogs, a quick re-call contest and best trick.

Dog Fanciers of Kaua‘i also set up its obstacle course for canines who wanted to push the envelope, either before or following the leisurely walk around the KCC campus.

A panel of independent judges comprised of event volunteers also scoured the field seeking out Best Dressed, Biggest and Small Dogs and other novelty judging criteria, the winners being recipients of gift bags provided by a host of community donors including The Whiskers Resort, which offered treats for canine as well as humans.

“It’s all donation,” Burleson said. “According to American Cancer Society, we cannot have vendors, but since they’re donating everything, they are able to have a tent. This is really good. We’ve doubled what was done last year and I love to see the people milling around with their pets. Dogs are beautiful.”

Burleson said Bark for Life, like the Kapa‘a Middle School Relay for Life, is a feeder event for the Hanapepe Relay for Life, proceeds being accounted to that event.

She said the next Relay for Life event takes place June 16 and 17 at the Waioli Park in Hanalei.

“It’s actually an overnight event,” said Mary Williamson of the American Cancer Society who admitted missing last year’s event because she was out of town. “It starts at 6 p.m. and runs until 6 a.m. the following morning.”

People interested in joining the event still have time to attend the next captains’ meeting on June 4 at the Kapa‘a Public Library starting at 6:15 p.m.

Williamson said she is involved in another fundraiser for ACS which takes place this Sunday when the Third Annual Pedal to the Meadow kicks off from 8 a.m. in Kekaha, finishing at the Koke‘e Museum meadow where it will be met by people participating in the annual Banana Poka Festival.

“It’s planned this way,” Williamson said. “We want a lot of people cheering on the finishers. There are some pretty tough bicyclists coming this year including Rick Beach, the winner of the 2010 ride who made the 16-mile trip in 1:05, and Ray Brust of Honolulu, the winner of the 2011 ride who reached the top of the 3,835-foot rise in 1:07.”

Pedal to the Meadow is hosted by the Tradewind Cycling Team with the support of sponsors including Kaua‘i Cycle and the Kalaheo Cafe.

Visit for more information or to register for the Sunday ride.

Williamson said following the Pedal to the Meadow and the Hanalei Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society also hosts the Hoedown for Hope later in the fall.

• Dennis Fujimoto can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@


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