WILKES-BARRE — Family and friends of Stephanie Sciandra said she was always there for her figure skating students, and Sept. 17 it was their turn to be there for her.
Approximately 200 people attended the “PENS for Stevie” fundraiser at the Toyota SportsPlex on Coal Street to support Sciandra before she tries to undergo another trial treatment for cancer.
“It’s all friends and family,” Sciandra said from her wheelchair, with her husband P.J. at her side.
“He takes really good care of me,” Sciandra, 37, said as he smiled.
The West Pittston couple were married in September 2015, about a year after she underwent her first round of chemotherapy. She was diagnosed again with cancer after their wedding and more treatment followed. Plans are to begin another round of therapy when she is able.
The ice rink was a fitting place for the event, which had an admission price of $10. It’s where she’s skated and coached the Diamond City Skating Club and the practice facility for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hockey club. A few of them were on hand to sign autographs.
“We grew up skating together,” said Amy Frederick, a friend, coach and organizer of the event along with Nicole Warner and Laura Carpenter.
“She has touched so many people’s lives with her charm,” Frederick said.
Among them was Sydney Smith, 22, of Kingston. She’s a member of the Blue Ridge Figure Skating Club and associate member of the Diamond City club.
“She’s a great person,” Smith said. When someone fell doing a jump, “Stevie,” as Smith referred to Sciandra, would encourage them to get back up and build their confidence to do it again, Smith said.
The Blue Ridge club was going to present a check to the fundraiser, Smith said.
Vendors set up tables to sell their merchandise and musicians performed throughout the fundraiser that ran from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. With a strip of tickets in hand, Kathy Minnick, of Plains Township, checked out the raffle baskets to see where to take her chances. She did not know Sciandra but wanted to help out.
“My grandson skates,” she said. The youngster, Aidan Minnick, turns 8 next month and is a hockey fan, she said. She had her eyes on the autographed jerseys and hockey stick raffle prizes.
Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.