YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center is the first comprehensive breast care center in Youngstown.
The center is at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and provides MRI’s, ultrasounds and mammograms for any woman regardless of her ability to pay.
The money from the Panerathon event helps the center keep providing services as well as updating the building and equipment.
“100 percent, dollar for dollar of the sponsorship from all of the companies as well as your participation fee, 100 percent goes to the Joanie,” said Ashlee Mauti of Covelli Enterprises.
This year, the center is buying the Joanie Abdu, Joanie on the Go MAMO van.
“It’s basically putting the center on wheels and taking it out into the community to help those women that are not able to come to the center,” said Candace Madden of Mercy Health Foundation.
Those who go to the Panerathon will get a first look at the new van. The center is unveiling it at the race on August 21.
Most runners who take part in the Panerathon run because they know someone who has been touched by breast cancer in some way.
Karen Pavlansky started out running in the Panerathon just to support locally, but now the run has a whole new meaning for her.
She usually runs alone, but, this year, she is running with a team.
“My twin sister has organized as a team, and we will be participating together as a team. So I always have came down individually or with some of my friends to participate in the road race, and now I’m going to be part of a tea,” Karen said.
Karen said it will be a little different running with a team.
“Because I’m on the other side now. I’ve always came out and been a supporter, and now I’m going to be out there and there’s going to be people supporting me,” Karen said.
Karen is fighting breast cancer. She found out she had it when she did a self-examination.
“I found it, went and got tested, had a mammogram, they did a biopsy and I tested positive at the end of December,” Karen said.
That is when Karen started going to the Joanie Abdu Breast Care Center.
“It’s a wonderful facility, all the doctors, the nurses, all the support staff. They have just been wonderful through this journey,” Karen said.
Karen has good days and bad days, but her journey is far from over.
“I’m feeling good. I just finished my chemo treatment, and I’m ready to get stronger and get my life back,” Karen said.
She is excited to put back on her running shoes, but she is nervous, too.
“Having gone through it, I realized the importance of having those supporters. It truly makes a difference; it lifts you up. It’s a very challenging time in your life, even as a survivor, and to have these people come out and support you at this one event, it’s just spectacular,” Karen said.
This year is Karen’s first year running as a breast cancer fighter, but it will not be her last year running in the event.
Those who want to run can register online at panerathon.org and the online registration ends August 17. A team must be five runners and the cost is $20 per person.
Runners can run alone, too.
There are two different races: a two-mile and a 10K. A kid’s fun run is free to sign up. The 10K is a bit more expensive than the two-mile run, but the proceeds are going to a great cause.
Sign up for a monthly e-mail reminder to do a self-examination on the WKBN website under the community tab. Click on Breast Cancer Awareness to sign up. Early detection can save a life.