YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The ominous looking clouds Sunday morning didn’t keep thousands of people from getting their jog on at 7th annual Panerathon in downtown Youngstown at the Covelli Centre.
It’s the Valley’s biggest fundraiser, a 10K run and a 2K walk. There are also activities for kids.
It’s a race to help raise awareness and money for breast cancer, with all proceeds going toward the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center, at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
The center provides MRIs, ultrasounds and mammograms, as well as education and support. Services are available regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.
So far, the Panerathon has raised $1.3 million for the breast care center, which is the first comprehensive breast care center in Youngstown.
11,000 people signed up to race, possibly making it the biggest Panerathon for the Valley to date.
Some of the money raised will also go toward a mobile mammogram unit to ensure more women are screened for breast cancer, called the Joanie On the Go Mammo Van, which features state of the art 3-D technology.
“The mortality rate of breast cancer in our Valley had been one of the highest in the nation,” said surgeon Dr. Rashid Abdu. “From the Panerathon over the last six years, it’s over $1 million generated.”
And it directly benefits people like Sherrie Campana, a breast cancer survivor.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and I went to the Abdu Center for all my mammograms.”
Finding a cure is a community effort.
“You know, when you see that many people supporting one thing it feels like more of a community, like we’re all fighting,” said Panerathon runner Kate Scott.
And to survivors, that support means a whole lot.
“It’s great, it makes you feel, you know, cared for. And you know, special. It’s awesome, it’s awesome, it’s a great feeling,” Campana said.