Paint Pittston Pink takes over downtown for 10 days

By Marcella Kester - For Sunday Dispatch | October 9th, 2015 2:35 pm

PITTSTON — Most of the city’s downtown was turned pink Saturday, Oct. 3 in honor of the Paint Pittston Pink Color Me Pink 5K run and family fun walk.

The nonprofit organization, co-founded by Barbara Sciandra and Qiana Lehman, helps raise money to aid cancer research and clinical trials, specifically the Pennies In Action Fund that helps Dr. Brain Czerniecki at the University of Pennsylvania.

As part of the 10-day campaign, the run and family fun walk began on Main Street at 11 a.m., running through the city before ending at the Tomato Festival grounds.

By 10 a.m., the Greater Pittston YMCA was filled with participants, many wearing raincoats over their cancer awareness T-shirts. Although the weather was dismal, participants seemed happy to be a part of the event.

As the participants registered and put their numbers on, they had an option of buying a bag of pink powder that could be opened and thrown out to the runners as they crossed the finish line, turning them “pink.”

As Sciandra helped register groups, she reminisced on the beginnings of the organization.

How it began

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, Sciandra, a pharmacist, began researching cancer and treatments. She found Dr. Czerniecki’s clinical trial vaccine and decided she wanted to be a part of it. For a year, Sciandra received the treatment. Today, she is cancer-free and Dr. Czerniecki’s trial has (according to Sciandra) been a success. She said he is now working on treatments for other cancers as well.

Sciandra said she wanted to focus directly on cancer research and trials, and try to help those who helped her.

Last year she founded Paint Pittston Pink, raising funds by selling flags and held a weekend of events in the Pittston area. Word spread quickly to local businesses and groups, and within a year’s time, the organization went from selling flags to holding a 10-day campaign with multiple events.

This year’s goal is $50,000 — $20,000 more than what was raised last year. But with the help of so many local business and community members, Paint Pittston Pink is well on its way to meeting the mark.

“I’m so very thankful for this community and the city itself for all the support they’ve given us,” she said.

A big turnout

Roughly 700 attendees were estimated to participate in Saturday’s events, which included the 5k, family fun walk and Gentleman’s Dash, bringing people from all over the state and beyond.

Seven local and state pageant title holders from 2014 and 2015 participated in the day’s events, many of which were seen holding bunches of pink balloons in the YMCA gymnasium.

Cassie Cerulli, a Wilkes University student and current Miss Northeastern Pennsylvania, said many of the recent title holders wanted to help. “Anytime we can be a part of the community and give back to the community we’re going to do it,” she said.

Other participants traveled from as far as Chicago to be a part of the event.

One family gathered together to celebrate the legacy of a family member who had passed from the disease, as well as help raise money for Paint Pittston Pink.

Judy Manganaro of Naples, Florida, gathered with her sister Betty Ann, of Chicago, and daughter Katie to join their niece Joanna, of New York, to remember Mari Anna Smith, who died from cancer in February.

Joanna, who is Smith’s daughter, organized for the family to come together for the run, and also helped fund raise by selling T-shirts dedicated to her mother.

“In all we raised about $1,500,” she said as she pointed to her shirt.

The family said Paint Pittston Pink was a great way to bring cancer awareness to the area, as well as a way to remember and celebrate Mari Anna.

Local community organizations also attended the run, including the Pittston Area girls basketball team.

Ginger Fath, a mother of one of the team’s players, said that the group is organized of fifth and sixth grade girls who wanted to form a basketball team, since the district doesn’t have one for middle school. Fath said the girls wanted to help the community and decided to join the run.

“We are all local, all women, and it’s for a good cause,” she said.

After the family walk, complete with children wearing capes as “caped CURE-saders,” there was the Gentleman’s Dash.

Men in high heels

Roughly 10 men varying in age tried their best to complete a dash wearing high-heeled shoes.

Each man raised money individually, and was told the “height of their heel” would depend on how much they raised — whoever raised the most money would wear the shortest heel.

Jay Duffy and Patrick Cosgrove were both participants in the dash. Duffy — clad in a hot-pink, curly wig and matching sunglasses — said that the men set a goal of $10,000, however they greatly surpassed that mark.

“Once you put the money we all raised together, it comes to about $17,000 to $18,000,” he said. “Everybody did their part.”

As for who will be donning the shortest heels? Cosgrove said he believes Duffy may have won, however Sciandra’s husband, Sal, may have caught up to him.

The Paint Pittston Pink campaign also included several fitness-themed events, a food and wine pairing, a celebrity bartending night, a raffle and wine tasting, and a lecture at Wyoming Seminary.

Members of the Dance Theatre of Wilkes-Barre perform before the start of the Gentlemen’s Dash on Main Street in Pittston.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_Gentlemen-s-Dash_1.jpgMembers of the Dance Theatre of Wilkes-Barre perform before the start of the Gentlemen’s Dash on Main Street in Pittston. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Participants take off to start the Color Me Pink 5K run/walk on Main Street in Pittston.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_PinkRun_41.jpgParticipants take off to start the Color Me Pink 5K run/walk on Main Street in Pittston. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Miss Luzerne County Outstanding Teen Courtney Richards, left, sings the national anthem as Miss Northeastern Pennsylvania Cassie Cerulli looks on before the start of the Color Me Pink 5K run/walk in Pittston on Saturday, Oct. 3.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_PinkRun_21.jpgMiss Luzerne County Outstanding Teen Courtney Richards, left, sings the national anthem as Miss Northeastern Pennsylvania Cassie Cerulli looks on before the start of the Color Me Pink 5K run/walk in Pittston on Saturday, Oct. 3. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Tony Molinaro of Pittston wins the male division of the Color Me Pink 5K run.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_PinkRun_5.jpgTony Molinaro of Pittston wins the male division of the Color Me Pink 5K run. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Rosie Fasciana of Dupont looks over the Paint Pittston Pink basket raffle at Boden on Sunday, Oct. 4.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_PSD101115PinkRaffle_1.jpgRosie Fasciana of Dupont looks over the Paint Pittston Pink basket raffle at Boden on Sunday, Oct. 4. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Pink balloons stand outside Boden Outlet, Art on Main, and Callahan’s during the Paint Pittston Pink raffle on Sunday, Oct. 4.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_PSD101115PinkRaffle_2.jpgPink balloons stand outside Boden Outlet, Art on Main, and Callahan’s during the Paint Pittston Pink raffle on Sunday, Oct. 4. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Tina Fisher of Laflin, left, takes a wine sample from Jeremy Yakus of Bartolai Winery inside Callahan’s Cafe.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_PSD101115PinkRaffle_3.jpgTina Fisher of Laflin, left, takes a wine sample from Jeremy Yakus of Bartolai Winery inside Callahan’s Cafe. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Paint Pittston Pink founder Barb Sciandra, right, greets Mary Ann Cosgrove of Pittston and other guests at Callahan’s Cafe.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_PSD101115PinkRaffle_4.jpgPaint Pittston Pink founder Barb Sciandra, right, greets Mary Ann Cosgrove of Pittston and other guests at Callahan’s Cafe. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Patrick Cosgrove, left, Sal Sciandra, Virginia Cosgrove, Mary Ann Cosgrove, and Meredith Cosgrove chat at Callahan’s Cafe during the Paint Pittston Pink basket raffle.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_PSD101115PinkRaffle_5.jpgPatrick Cosgrove, left, Sal Sciandra, Virginia Cosgrove, Mary Ann Cosgrove, and Meredith Cosgrove chat at Callahan’s Cafe during the Paint Pittston Pink basket raffle. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
People supporting the Paint Pittston Pink effort pack Callahan’s Cafe in Pittston on Sunday, Oct. 4.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_PSD101115PinkRaffle_6.jpgPeople supporting the Paint Pittston Pink effort pack Callahan’s Cafe in Pittston on Sunday, Oct. 4. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
From left, Julie Carmody, of Pittston, Heather Johnson Loftus, of Pittston, and Colleen Carmody, of Philadelphia share a smile at the Paint Pittston Pink Celebrity Bartending Night at the Red Mill in Pittston Friday, Oct. 2.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_IMG_1895.jpgFrom left, Julie Carmody, of Pittston, Heather Johnson Loftus, of Pittston, and Colleen Carmody, of Philadelphia share a smile at the Paint Pittston Pink Celebrity Bartending Night at the Red Mill in Pittston Friday, Oct. 2. Submitted photos
Tracy Ashby, left, of Pittston, and her sister, Colleen DeFrank, of Harrisburg, pose for a photo during the Celebrity Bartending Night hosted by Paint Pittston Pink on Friday, Oct. 2.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_IMG_2136.jpgTracy Ashby, left, of Pittston, and her sister, Colleen DeFrank, of Harrisburg, pose for a photo during the Celebrity Bartending Night hosted by Paint Pittston Pink on Friday, Oct. 2. Submitted photos
From left, Meredith Cosgrove, Paint Pittston Pink founder Barb and husband Sal Sciandra, and Patrick Cosgrove enjoy the Celebrity Bartending Night.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_IMG_2129.jpgFrom left, Meredith Cosgrove, Paint Pittston Pink founder Barb and husband Sal Sciandra, and Patrick Cosgrove enjoy the Celebrity Bartending Night. Submitted photos
Mark Calomino, of Kingston, enjoys the Paint Pittston Pink Celebrity Bartending Night at the Red Mill Oct. 2.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_IMG_2017.jpgMark Calomino, of Kingston, enjoys the Paint Pittston Pink Celebrity Bartending Night at the Red Mill Oct. 2. Submitted photos
Celebrity bartender and former Major League Baseball player Andy Ashby, Pittston, takes an order from a customer at the Red Mill Oct. 2.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_IMG_1999.jpgCelebrity bartender and former Major League Baseball player Andy Ashby, Pittston, takes an order from a customer at the Red Mill Oct. 2. Submitted photos
Cindy Terrana, left, of Pittston and Eileen Callahan Rosen, of West Pittston, share a smile during the event.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_IMG_1978.jpgCindy Terrana, left, of Pittston and Eileen Callahan Rosen, of West Pittston, share a smile during the event. Submitted photos
Celebrity bartenders Alan Kiesinger of Avoca and Mark Mihalka of Pittston prepare to serve a packed house at the Red Mill in Pittston.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_IMG_1967.jpgCelebrity bartenders Alan Kiesinger of Avoca and Mark Mihalka of Pittston prepare to serve a packed house at the Red Mill in Pittston. Submitted photos
From left, family of Barbara Sciandra are sister, Ann Fisher; aunt, Ann Ralston; aunt, Tina Fisher; and mother, Elaine Fisher.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_IMG_1943.jpgFrom left, family of Barbara Sciandra are sister, Ann Fisher; aunt, Ann Ralston; aunt, Tina Fisher; and mother, Elaine Fisher. Submitted photos
From left, Nelson Pinto, Jenkins Township; Andy Ashby, Pittston; Linda and Robbie Johnson, Yatesville, make time during the busy event to pose for a photo.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_IMG_1907.jpgFrom left, Nelson Pinto, Jenkins Township; Andy Ashby, Pittston; Linda and Robbie Johnson, Yatesville, make time during the busy event to pose for a photo. Submitted photos
Melissa McNulty Latona, left, of Jenkins Township, and Paint Pittston Pink founder Barbara Sciandra, of Laflin, smile at the Celebirty Bartending Night.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_IMG_1905.jpgMelissa McNulty Latona, left, of Jenkins Township, and Paint Pittston Pink founder Barbara Sciandra, of Laflin, smile at the Celebirty Bartending Night. Submitted photos
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_IMG_1889.jpgSubmitted photos
Celebrity bouncer Sammy Agolino takes a break from all the action at the Red Mill on Oct. 2.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/web1_IMG_1887.jpgCelebrity bouncer Sammy Agolino takes a break from all the action at the Red Mill on Oct. 2. Submitted photos

By Marcella Kester

For Sunday Dispatch

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at sd@s24530.p831.sites.pressdns.com.


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