PITTSTON — Have you ever seen a pink river?
You’re in luck.
The Second Annual Paint Pittston Pink event will kick off on Sunday, Sept. 27 throughout downtown Pittston. This year, however, founder Barbara Sciandra has figured out a way to get the word — or color — of breast cancer awareness “flowing” throughout the Wyoming Valley.
Sciandra announced recently the Susquehanna River will by dyed pink with a safe, non-toxic, Environmental Protection Agency-approved dye, similar to the dye used in Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day. Weather permitting, the pink river will run from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 3 during the Color Me Pink 5K and Caped CURE-sader Family Fun Walk.
Sciandra and her husband Sal spent several years in Chicago and fell in love with the way that river was dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day. What started as a joke, she said, has taken off.
“It’s been a dream of mine to turn the river pink,” Sciandra said. “The only thing that would hold us back is weather. We have our fingers crossed that we’ll have a pink river for runners to run over.”
Sciandra’s planning for the second event started as soon as last year’s ended. Paint Pittston Pink raised a total of $30,000 last year for the Pennies in Action Fund at the University of Pennsylvania in support of breast cancer research. This year’s goal is set at $50,000.
The river isn’t the only thing, however, that will be painted pink. Mayo Striping will place a pink line through Main Street, similar to the green one painted for the St. Patrick’s Parade, in the coming days.
New to this year’s event will be a donation for the Care and Concern Free Health Clinic. Originally, the donations were going to be made only at Mass on Saturday, Oct. 3 at St. John the Evangelist Church in Pittston. Instead, Sciandra decided to have boxes for canned goods donations at each event.
In what was originally a weekend event, Sciandra and her team have turned into a week-long event.
“I think all of the events offer something different,” she said. “We tried to get as many things going as possible. We have stuff for kids, adults, families — for the young and old.”
Starting on Sunday, Sept. 27 and running through Wednesday, Oct. 7, Paint Pittston Pink will take over the town with different activities and fundraisers. It all comes to a climax on Saturday, Oct. 3 with the Color Me Pink 5K and Caped-CUREsader Family Fun Walk, Sciandra’s favorite event.
Also new to this year is the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Gentlemen’s Dash. Several local men will wear high-heeled shoes and sprint down Main Street following the 5k.
Paint Pittston Pink has recently been awarded 501c3 status, making it easier for folks in the Greater Pittston area to donate to the cause. Last year, the organization did not have a non-profit status.
Sciandra said she can’t believe the support the Greater Pittston area has shown Paint Pittston Pink.
“It’s so humbling and inspiring,” she said. “This isn’t about me. It’s not about Barb Sciandra. Cancer is still around and we need to make money to support the research for our children and our children’s children. That’s why the community has embraced it so much.”
Sciandra wants people to know this event isn’t just benefiting breast cancer research, but all kinds of cancer.
“(The University of Pennsylvania) is working on vaccines for other cancers,” she said. “(Dr. Brian Czerniecki) really believes he found the ways cancer works. This isn’t just for breast cancer. He’s on the heels of something big.”
Here’s list of this year’s Paint Pittston Pink events:
Sunday, Sept. 27
Skyzone in Pittston will offer a jump start to the week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Proceeds go directly to the cause.
Pink Wine Pairing at Pazzo Restaurant on Route 315.
Tuesday, Sept. 29
Paint ‘N Pinot on Cooper’s Cabana. This is an adult-only event. To register, visit www.paintnpinot.com
Wednesday, Sept. 30
Spin, Zumba and more at the Greater Pittston YMCA
Thursday, Oct. 1
Yoga presented by Dr. Christine E. Kiesinger at The Sapphire Salon and Destination Spa
Friday, Oct. 2
One of Paint Pittston Pink’s post popular events is Celebrity Bartending Night at The Red (PINK) Mill. Bartenders include Corinne Agolino Salko, Alan Kiesinger, Dr. Joseph Leo, Mark Mihalka, Angie Morgan, Lindo Sabatini and Dr. Bruce Saidman. Celebrity bouncers are Sammy Agolino, Dr. Shawn Casey and Chris Martin.
Saturday, Oct. 3
9 a.m. Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church.
The Color Me Pink 5k and Caped CURE-Sader Family Fun Walk will begin at 11 a.m. To register, visit www.raceroster.com and look for Paint Pittston Pink. The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Gentlemen’s Dash will be held immediately following race. Participants are Ed Ackerman, John Adonizio, Michael Callahan, Patrick Cosgrove, Jay Duffy, Jarrett Ferentino, Marty Jordan, Russell Keeler, Luke Matthews, Dr. Chris Sanders, Sal Sciandra, Brian Stahl and Nick Wagner.
There will be a kids open studio at 1:30 p.m. at Paint ‘N Pinot.
Sunday, Oct. 4
Silent Auction, SBC Beer and Bartolai Wine Tasting event at Callahan’s Cafe, Art on Main and Boden. Basket raffle winners will be drawn at this time.
Wednesday, Oct. 7
Sciandra will give a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) lecture at Wyoming Seminary where she will share her story and help educate the audience about the Pennies in Action fund. The lecture begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.
Friday, Oct. 9
A Karma Class will be held at 5:30 p.m. at Home Yoga and Barre Studio, 5 Luzerne Ave., West Pittston. All proceeds go to Paint Pittston Pink. To register, call 570-406-6030.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-602-0178 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick