PITTSTON — Sunday was a glorious day to celebrate the life of Dr. Jennifer A. Sidari, the skies were bright and sunny — just like the persona of Sidari herself — as the 3rd Annual “Dr. Jen’s Hope Memorial Ride & Block Party” was held in her memory at Cooper’s Waterfront.
The event began at 10 a.m. with motorcycle registration, followed by a 40-mile ride returning back to Cooper’s. An old-fashioned block party was held, which included a dunk tank and hot dog eating contest, food, a DJ and plenty of raffle prizes.
Dr. Sidari, a former West Pittston resident, 2005 Wyoming Area graduate, and double major at the University of Scranton, was a part of the first graduating class of The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC), Scranton.
She graduated from TCMC in 2013 and accepted a residency at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, in pediatric medicine. After a brief illness, she passed away on May 29, 2013 in the same hospital where she was to begin working at a week later.
Since her death, her family — comprising mother and father Patty and Pete, along with her brother and sister, Peter and Vicky — have vowed to continue her work of helping others by creating Dr. Jen’s Hope Foundation, the Jennifer A. Sidari, M.D. “13” Scholarship at TCMC, the Jennifer A. Sidari, “13” Global Health Award Heart to Heart International, the Jennifer A. Sidari Scholarship at Wyoming Area, and the West Pittston Library Jennifer A. Sidari, M.D. Collection.
Approximately 90 motorcycles participated in the bike run, up 40 bikes from last year and 65 from the first year.
“The most important thing that we can hope for is that more and more people get swept up in the type of selfless caring that Jen certainly had for other people and that people walk away knowing that they can do something for the local communities, the region and even state-wide and it doesn’t have to be a lot,” Pete Sidari said. “A dollar in a fundraiser for a raffle ticket, more is better, but just coming away from this with the realization that every little bit counts when we can help people that are certainly less fortunate than us.”
Dr. Sidari traveled the world, learning and training in South Africa, Haiti, and Oakland, California.
“Combined with her almost limitless smile, she could have gone anywhere with her credentials, she was going to bring all of that knowledge and practice here, that’s pretty humbling,” Sidari added.
Cooper’s Waterfront donated food for the event, along with the facilities, and Susquehanna Brewing Company, located in Pittston, developed and donated a special beer consisting of strawberry lemonade.
Marietta (Pesotini) Police, Scranton, and Dr. Mia Mattioli, Newark, New Jersey, were high school classmates that wanted to make the event.
“Any fun that we can have in remembering her is definitely something that she would have wanted us to do, especially if it’s outdoors,” Police said.
“I really love coming to events like this, it’s just a reminder that she mattered not just to me, but to a community,” Mattioli said. “I always travel to other places and have moved to other cities and I don’t know how to keep my roots. Jen was so rooted, she really believed in this community so it’s incredible that they all believe in her because they come out and remember her and fulfill this legacy.”
Nina Dei Tos, Drums, vice president of Resource Development at the United Way of Wyoming Valley, is a helping hand with the Sidari family in maintaining the website, sending out press releases as well as photographing special events.
“It’s incredible to see the growth of this event in only three years, it’s remarkable,” Dei Tos said. “We are pleasantly surprised to see the community remembering and memorializing Jennifer and to see the support from the medical college and everyone involved.”
The next fundraising event for Dr. Jen is the annual golf tournament, to be held at Blue Ridge Country Club, Mountain Top, on Oct. 9.
“Jen would be blushing (about the event) but eternally grateful because we are helping less fortunate people and those are the people that she wanted to help.” Sidari reflected.