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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:10:05 22:45:36

Runners make their way thru a cloud of pink dust at the end of the 5k during Paint Pittston Pink.cv13paint1DAVE SCHERBNECO/CITIZENS VOICE

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:10:05 22:45:36

GREATER PITTSTON PROGRESS FILE Runners make their way through a cloud of pink dust at the end of the Color Me Pink 5K.

PITTSTON — Paint Pittston Pink founder Barbara Sciandra has a goal, and with an earlier start and new events, more chances to hit it when the breast cancer research fundraisers begin.

“This is the most (events) we’ve had to date,” she said.

It all starts Friday, Sept. 20, at the Knights of Columbus in Pittston with the first Paint Pittston Pink Dueling Pianos event. State College based group Piano Fight Club will perform starting at 7 p.m., and Sciandra stated the new event is one she is looking forward to most.

“We’re really excited about it,” she said.

Dueling Pianos will kick off the sixth year of Paint Pittston Pink, which began as a one-day event featuring a Color Me Pink 5K. The 5K remains as the centerpiece and final day of fundraising, but each year Sciandra has seen the event grow into the robust schedule of fundraisers planned for this year.

“Our calendar is jam-packed with activities for young people through older adults,” she said.

The events have traditionally raised money for the University of Pennsylvania’s Pennies in Action fund, which supports breast cancer research at the university. Paint Pittston Pink continues to support the fund, Sciandra said, but this year the committee plans to use a portion of the funds they raise to establish a dedicated Paint Pittston Pink Fund.

“We are in the process of setting up our own fund,” she said, noting they hope to be able to have more control over what the money is used for. “Everybody locally is entrusting these donations to us.”

With that in mind, Sciandra has set this year’s goal at $100,000, with the hope of donating $25,000 to Pennies in Action and using $75,000 to establish the Paint Pittston Pink fund. The event’s goal has sat at $100,000 for a couple of years, Sciandra said.

“We get a little bit closer every year,” she said.

To date, Paint Pittston Pink has raised about $330,000 for breast cancer research, she noted.

After Dueling Pianos kicks off the schedule, Art E Fekts on Main Street in Pittson will hold an event Wednesday, Sept. 25. The following evening, the Meet Your Match Bachelor and Bachelorette Auction returns to the Tomato Bar.

On Friday, Sept. 27, residents will have a chance to Paint the Night Pink by gathering in Pittston’s Riverfront Park for a pink lantern launch at 7:30 p.m. Lanterns, as well as tickets for all events, are available for purchase at www.raceroster.com.

Susquehanna Brewing Company will host a Festival of Life and blood drive Saturday, Sept. 28, and new this year, a motorcycle poker run will start at Sabatini’s Bottleshop and Bar and will end at Susquehanna Brewing Company in time for the day’s events.

A purse and cash bingo will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, at St. Maria Goretti Banquet Hall in Laflin, featuring “celebrity” servers Brian Harashinski and John Pietrowski along with announcers Joe Nealon and Michael Berlew.

Monday, Sept. 30, features Paint PAZZO Pink. Tickets are available at www.raceroster.com.

Sapphire Salon in Pittston will host yoga with Dr. Kristine E. Kiesinger on Thursday, Oct. 3, and Celebrity Bartending night returns to the Red Mill on Friday, Oct. 4.

The final day of events, Saturday, Oct. 5, begins with Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church at 9 a.m. leading into the event that started it all, the Color Me Pink 5K at 11 a.m.

Sciandra said she usually expects a “couple hundred” people downtown for the race.

“It’s like a sea of pink,” she said. “It’s truly humbling.”

The final day of festivities continues after the 5K with the Gentleman’s Dash at noon. This year’s “Men in Heels,” includes Jon Adonizio, Peter Adonizio, Ray Capozucca, Nick Chiumento, Matt Latona, Paul Melvin, Mike Murray, Jon Pollard, John Rebovich, Lindo Sabatini, Leo Sperrazza and Gene Starr. After raising funds for weeks on their own, the men will all “walk a mile in her shoes,” by racing against one another for a mile while wearing high heels.

Sciandra and her family started Paint Pittston Pink six years ago after her own bout with breast cancer. She said she never expected it to not only last, but grow and prosper for as long as it has.

“It really is surreal,” she said. “I can’t believe how much the community has embraced us … I’m forever grateful.”

Sscinto203@gmail.com