9th annual 5K Dog Walk & Fun Run to benefit Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness Sept. 8

Teal, the color representing ovarian cancer awareness, will adorn nearly 200 supporters and dogs during the ninth annual 5K Dog Walk & Fun Run at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, benefiting the Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness organization.

The event raises funds for a One Health approach to educating pet owners and those who work with pets about the silent symptoms ovarian cancer. According to executive vice president Vallie Szymanski, the nonprofit extends its education through veterinary clinic members and now through pet adoption shelters in Illinois and Wisconsin.

The event will begin at LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, Shelter No. 2, 37W700 Dean St., St. Charles.

Cost is $35, $30 for seniors, $25 for students. It is free for children under age 12. Cost is $10 for dogs. The fee includes T-shirt, lunch and teal bandannas for participating dogs.

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National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month event supports awareness campaign extending its reach through animal adoption shelters in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Scott Mackay, host of "Mackay in the Mornings" on 95.9 The River, will emcee the event led by board members and co-chairs: veterinarians Kris Junkas of Wright Animal Hospital, Kurt Klepitsch of Gateway Veterinary Clinic, and Alexis Newman of Partners and Paws Veterinary Services.

Opening ceremonies begin with a color guard led by members of St. Charles American Legion Post 342 and the national anthem will be sung by St. Charles resident Jennifer Mamminga.

Event participants also include K-9 officers and handlers, and Midwest Greyhound Adoption with adoptable, retired greyhounds. Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets will introduce adoptable kittens and puppies, and a new partner from Hayward, Wisconsin, the Northwoods Humane Society, will be represented.

Their awareness campaign helps reach a new audience by capturing the attention of pet owners in locations where they are already thinking of the health of a family member.

Through a One Health approach tapping expertise from partners in the medical community including the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the One Health Commission, the Veterinary Outreach Program raises awareness about the silent symptoms of the disease.

Funds raised at the Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness 5K Dog Walk will support expansion of the Veterinary Outreach Program and numbers of individuals reached with educational materials about the silent symptoms of the disease.

Funds also support an internship at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center's program training dogs to 'sniff out' cancer odorants in plasma affected by the disease with the ultimate goal of assisting scientists in creating a new diagnostic test for early detection.

Each year, over 20,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and approximately 14,000 women die from the disease. When ovarian cancer is diagnosed and treated in its earliest stages, the survival rate is over 90 percent.

Its mission is to expand public awareness about the symptoms of ovarian cancer in an effort to contribute to the early detection of this deadly disease, and by doing so, save lives.

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