In 2014, Barb Sciandra’s goal was to raise $50,000. The first Paint Pittston Pink fundraiser did raise that amount, of which $30,000 was donated to the Pennies in Action Fund at the University of Pennsylvania and the rest covered the event’s costs.
The organization hit its donation goal a year ago, giving away $50,000 after raising nearly a total of $80,000 before overhead costs. The breast cancer survivor has her sights set even higher this year.
Paint Pittston Pink, a registered 501(c)3 organization, officially kicks off a series of events Saturday, Oct. 1 that will run through Sunday, Oct. 9 in and around downtown Pittston. The goal this year is to raise $100,000 for the Pennies in Action Fund. The money helps fund a revolutionary vaccine to eradicate breast cancer, which has been developed and proven for the last 10 years at the University of Pennsylvania.
Sciandra was a beneficiary of this vaccine when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. Now cancer-free, Sciandra’s focus is helping others.
During pregnancy with her youngest child Cameron, now almost 5 years old, Sciandra discovered a lump on her left breast. From that point, she was persistent and aggressive with ultrasounds, biopsies, mammograms and MRIs.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer on Aug. 17, 2012, stage III in her left breast and stage II in her right. She was 34 years old and had HER2+, an extremely aggressive type of cancer with a high recurrence rate. She started chemotherapy one day after her eighth wedding anniversary. Doing research, she learned she qualified for a vaccine clinical trial at the University of Pennsylvania.
The decision to raise Paint Pittston Pink’s goal to $100,000 was an easy one, Sciandra said.
“I feel like you have to always set the bar higher,” she said. “You should always drive to do better.”
One of the new events coming to Paint Pittston Pink this year will be Paint the Night Pink on Sunday, Oct. 2. The event will be an eco-friendly lantern release at the Riverfront Park next to the Susquehanna River. Lanterns will be released in memory or honor of loved ones.
“This event will be the most emotional because you’re down on the beautiful riverfront and you have the opportunity to think about the person you’re doing it for,” Sciandra said. “We try to keep everyone hopeful and positive.”
Of course, Sciandra admits she can’t do all of this alone. Through the process she’s had many volunteers. The committee has 14 volunteers with each responsible for their own event.
“We wounldn’t be able to do what we do without them,” Sciandra said.
She also said she wouldn’t be anywhere without local business.
“Myself and the committee are so humbled by the community support,” Sciandra said. “We can’t get over how kind and generous our community and the businesses have just been so accepting and welcome.”
Gentlemen’s Dash Oct. 8
The second annual Gentlemen’s Dash will be held at noon Saturday, Oct. 8. Several “celebrities” from the Greater Pittston area will take on a 100-yard dash in high heels.
Sunday Dispatch reporter Jimmy Fisher will participate in this year’s race. He will be running in honor of Times Leader reporter Melanie Mizenko, who is currently battling Stage 4 endometrial cancer.
Also participating in the race are: Jerry Mancinelli, Vito Quaglia, James Bobeck, Dave Day, Girard Mecadon, John Haas, Tom Tigue Jr., Michael Rebovich, Matt Carmody, Joe Nealon. As of Friday, Sept. 23, the gentlemen have raised nearly $14,000. Last year, the group raised more than $18,000.
Get out to the Red Mill
Prior to the 5K and Gentlemen’s Dash on Saturday, folks can head to the Red Mill in downtown Pittston for Celebrity Bartending Night.
Bartenders this year will be T.C. Charney, Priscilla Cooney, Dr. Audra Kiefer, Dr. Mark Lyons, Jerry Mancinelli, Dr. Chris Peters, Renee Phillips Sutkowski and Mike Smith. Bouncers for the evening will be Sammy Agolino, Dr. Shawn Casey and Chris Martin.
Throughout the year, Paint Pittston Pink is involved with many different businesses trying to raise the most money possible.
New for 2016, PPP is hosting a Luxury Lotto. For $10 per ticket, or three tickets for $25, you can win a FitBit, American Girl Doll, Beats by Dre, Kate Spade purse, Under Armour sunglasses, an autographed Notre Dame jersey, and a $500 cash prize. Random winners will be chosen daily from Oct. 10 through Nov. 8.
At Ben & George’s Ice Cream on Oak Street in Pittston, if you purchase pink sprinkles or a pink dipped waffle cone, that money will be donated to PPP.
Orders are being taken for embossed bricks for the Paint Pittston Pink Meditation and Reading Garden at the Pittston Memorial Library. Prices range from $100 to $10,000. Contact Sciandra to purchase a brick at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-407-0780.
Contact Sciandra to purchase the official 2016 Paint Pittston Pink T-shirt for $15.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick