Wag-A-Thon aids local mammogram efforts at DKH
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Woodstock - posted Mon., Jun. 24, 2013
More than 20 dogs and their owners shared the stage at the Woodstock Fairgrounds on June 15 for the inaugural Day Kimball Hospital Wag-A-Thon. Sponsored by the Woman's Board of Day Kimball Hospital, the event brought in more than $10,000 towards the purchase of a digital mammography machine.
Co-chair Cheryl Bozorgmanesh watched from the sidelines as dogs competed for a “best dressed” award. The competition was fierce. Gayle Salisbury's dog Bailey wore a nurse's uniform, complete with hat and stethoscope. Ryo the Papillon wore a red, white and blue Mohawk. Oscar the Labradoodle wore boxers and matching sunglasses. “There is stiff criteria for all the competitions,” Bozorgmanesh said, laughing. Judges Pamela Watts, Tony Emilio and Rebecca Harvey gave awards for best costume, best trick, best name and best wagger.
But the real winners were women in the community. The money raised will go toward the purchase of two digital mammography machines that are fast, provide clear images, and will serve a significant portion of women in the region. Bozorgmanesh estimates that about 10,000 mammograms are performed annually at DKH. “We thought it was a perfect tie-in for women,” said Bozorgmanesh. “And breast cancer detection is such an important issue.”
The group pledged to raise $107,000 to cover one quarter of the costs of two mammogram machines. As Bozorgmanesh remembers it, a group of them kept patting and playing with member Kathy Rocha's dog, Duke, while they were kicking around fundraising ideas. That's when the idea of sponsoring a dog event came to them. “People love their dogs,” she said.
A $100 entry fee was required per dog. “It was hard at first, but once people bought into the idea of sponsoring a dog, it brought together a nice group of people,” Bozorgmanesh said. Duke, who had been the group's inspiration, brought in $3,000. He was also the “poster child” for the event. His face graced posters and advertisements.
DKH Director of Development Pamela Watts said the event was a great effort by the Woman's Board. “They work tirelessly,” she said. “They should win the top prize for going to the dogs. It was a tremendous effort to pull it all together.”
“We really want women to have access to mammograms for prevention and screening purposes,” said DKH President and CEO Robert Smanik. “We really don't want costs to be an issue. The goal is for everyone to have access to it.”