PITTSTON — Paint Pittston Pink week kicked off Thursday with a “Meet your Match” event at the Tomato Bar & Bistro, offering dates with the area’s most eligible bachelors and bachelorettes to the highest bidder.
Sponsored by the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, the event drew about 100 people, many sipping adult beverages, some enjoying an array of refreshments offered, others hoping to win an enchanted evening with a date of their choice, but all eager to support Paint Pittston Pink in its effort to raise both money to fund Pennies in Action, an organization developing a vaccine against the disease, and awareness of the disease which impacts not only its victims, but their families, as well.
With music by Sweet Pepper and the Long Hots, the unusually temperate weather made it possible for attendees to enjoy the bar’s patio with music that filled the entire area, audible as attendees arrived and made their way to the event venue.
To local celebrity Elise Mosca, a contestant on both The Bachelor and The Bachelor in Paradise, the event provided an opportunity for fun, for a cause close to her heart.
Mosca, whose mother died from skin cancer, has always been supportive of community activities that bring people together celebrating life while supporting efforts against cancer.
“A lot of cancer patients spend a lot of time in dark hospital rooms,” she said. “This event highlights the importance of having fun, of spending time with others.”
Bachelorette Kathy Hawk, of Shavertown, admitted she was more than a bit anxious “going on the auction block,” but happy to have a group of friends in the first row offering their full support.
“We talked her into it,” said Ruthann Voitek, of Exeter, a member of the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network.
“When we reminded her that it was for such a great cause,” said Voitek, “she was in — hook, line and sinker.”
Hawk had originally sent an email simply requesting more information about being a bachelorette.
“I heard back from the Chamber welcoming me as a participant,” she said, laughing.
Matt Vough, of Pittston, who was also on the auction block, said he couldn’t say “no” to such a worthy cause.
“Its also a chance to meet new people and interact with the community,” he said. “The Chamber did a great job.”
Emcee Michael Lombardo III credited the 11 people who volunteered to be part of the auction with a great deal of courage and commitment to community.
“Its not easy to put yourself out there,” he said. “But they knew it was for a good cause.”
Brandi Bartush, Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce Events Coordinator, said the event reflected the Chamber’s commitment to community and to supporting local businesses.
Bartush said those local businesses made the event possible through sponsorships and donations.
With six bachelors and five bachelorettes participating, the event raised about $6,500.
Bachelor Bobby Breymeier, who described himself as “not nervous at all” about taking the stage, encouraged bidders to be generous and open their pockets in the fight against breast cancer.
He acknowledged Barb Sciandra and Qiana Lehman, who founded the Paint Pittston Pink events, now in their fourth year.
Sciandra has been quick to share her own personal experiences with breast cancer as an opportunity to inspire and inform others.
“Its a charitable theme,” Breymeier said. “Who could say no?”