Locals, students walk dogs to fundraise for Relay for Life

By Paige Simakas

Southern Methodist University’s Relay for Life team welcomed canine and human lovers alike Monday during a fundraising event at Burleson Park on SMU’s campus.

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Dog rides passenger at SMU Bark for Life Photo credit: Paige Simakas

Bark for Life was a three hour, noncompetitive walking event for dogs and their owners to raise both awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society and their fight against cancer.

“It’s all about benefitting and honoring the canine caregivers because they really do have such an influence on those struggling and battling with cancer,” director of finance Taylor Walden said.

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Dog "high fives" at SMU Bark for Life Photo credit: Paige Simakas

As the kickoff event of the season, Relay for Life members wanted to be able to successfully raise money and awareness for a cause that is close to many people’s hearts.

The Relay team was able to raise over $600 through a registration fee for humans and their pets. Additionally, they received profits from selling baked goods, tacos and drinks, which were donated to the cause.

“I think it’s a good event to kind of bring the outside Dallas community into Relay because I feel like a lot of times it’s just the SMU community, but anybody in the area can participate,” director of communications Emma Clayton said.

Relay is a massive part of the American Cancer Society’s battle against the disease with volunteers in over 5,200 communities and 20 countries, according to their website.

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SMU Bark for Life Photo credit: Paige Simakas

The SMU Relay for Life community wanted to work with the American Cancer Society to bringing this fundraising event to campus in honor of the life-long contributions of their canine caregivers.

“We just want to raise more awareness for the American Cancer society and attract a different group because this is all focused on the dogs,” Walden said. “That attracts a different group that would come to the normal Relay for Life event.”

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Dogs at SMU Bark for Life Photo credit: Paige Simakas

“There was a bobbing for hot dogs competition, there is a trick competition coming up and there is a bobbing for tennis balls competition as well,” Clayton said.

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SMU Bark for Life attendees Photo credit: Paige Simakas

While it was fun and games, members of the Relay for Life team know it’s was much more about taking action against cancer than playing with puppies.

Current members know the sad reality in which many people experience cancer on a daily basis.

“Almost everyone has a relationship to cancer in some way,” new member Kendall Hay said.

In fact, this is exactly why she got involved in Relay for Life at SMU.

“I joined Relay for Life this year because in the past year my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer,” Hay said. “I want to show him support by helping raise awareness for cancer.”

As far as the event went, members of the Relay for Life team believe it was a successful turnout. They raised money for a cause close to all of their hearts, met with many people in the Dallas area and got to play with puppies along the way.

“A lot of people from outside SMU came and brought their dogs,” Clayton said. “Hopefully they will go tell their friends about it so I think it was pretty successful.”

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