Area dog lovers and runners can walk, run or be a virtual participant to help canines with cancer in the fifth annual 5K for K-9 Cancer Run/Walk.

The event will be held with registration starting at 9 a.m. April 21 at McNamara Park, 7049 Big Walnut Road in Galena.

The 5K Run will step off at 10 a.m., and the 5K and 1-mile walk begin at 10:30 a.m.

The event was inspired by Hilary Seif, a current Otterbein University employee and dog owner who lost her golden retriever, Newman, to cancer in the summer of 2013.

"We have raised awareness of canine cancer and just how prevalent it is," she said. "Funds have gone and continue to go toward the diagnosis and treatment of canine cancer, patient support, family support and research in the hope of curing canine cancer."

Canine cancer affects one out of every three dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Of those dogs, more than half will die. Cancer is also the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10.

The warning signs of cancer in dogs are similar to those in people: a lump or a bump, a wound that doesn't heal, any kind of swelling, enlarged lymph nodes, a lameness or swelling in the bone, abnormal bleeding, according to the AVMA.

Since 2014, the 5K for K-9 Cancer has raised $136,528, Seif said.

Otterbein University's Sport Management Event Planning and Sport Marketing classes organize the event to educate and raise awareness and funds for the fight against canine cancer.

Dr. Teri Walter, the course instruction and professor of the Department of Health and Sport Sciences, said the goal this year is to raise more than $40,000, with all proceeds earmarked for the clinical investigation of the diagnosis and treatment of canine cancer; specifically, for stereotactic-radiation therapy treatments.

Stereotactic-radiation therapy is an advanced technology being used to treat a variety of cancer tumors and is still somewhat in a research mode, according to MedVet Cancer Center for Pets.

The treatment effectively treats tumors while saving and protecting healthy organs and tissues. Pets that can benefit from this treatment include any dog or cat suffering with a bulky tumor such as nasal, brain and lung tumors.

Walter said the beneficiary of the event's proceeds is determined by MedVet Cancer Center for Pets veterinary personnel based on current research and cutting-edge technology in the veterinary medicine field.

She said there is a significant number of patients in need of stereotactic-radiation therapy and the dollars raised will have an immediate impact for families.

Last year's proceeds went toward providing funding for curing canine cancer via bone marrow transplants and patient support.

Advance registration prices of $25 to participate or $35 to participate and receive a T-shirt are valid through Tuesday, April 17. The on-site registration fee is $30 without an event T-shirt. A limited number of long-sleeve T-shirts will be available for purchase on location for $15.

Virtual participants are welcome. That cost is $35 to register and includes an event T-shirt with shipping and handling included.

All participants' dogs are welcome for free.

The average number of dogs that are part of the event each year is 150 to 200, according to Seif.

In addition to the walk and run, the event will feature paw-print art, 50/50 raffle, a silent auction, educational materials and informational presentations and dog/pet-related exhibitors and vendors.

Race awards will be given to the top three male and female runners only.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

For more information, go to otterbein.edu/5kK9cancerrunwalk.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla