Leechburg’s ‘Pink Day’ fundraiser to fight cancer Saturday called the biggest yet | TribLIVE.com
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Emily Talarico of Gilpin waits for her shaved ice being prepared by Kalee Wietrzykowski of Girls with Nice ICE of Gilpin during the seventh annual Pink Day celebration and fundraiser in Leechburg. Sept. 15, 2018

Leechburg knows how to Think Pink — for breast cancer.

Market Street shut down to vehicle traffic for Pink Day 2018 on Saturday.

The annual breast cancer fundraiser celebrates its seventh year, and event organizer Sherry Price said this year’s event is the biggest.

It offers more than 20 food vendors and 79 other types of vendors.

The event continues until 5 p.m.

“Closing off Market Street last year changed the dynamic of Pink Day,” Price said. “It became more like a festival atmosphere, and we were able to add more events, vendors and food choices.

“And, of course, the safety implications were phenomenal. We didn’t have to worry about traffic going through Market Street, and that is a huge relief.”

Pink Day raised more than $15,000 last year. All proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Organizers are hopeful they can raise $18,000 this year.

Anita Starkey, of Vandergrift, is a breast cancer survivor of three years. She returns annually to participate in Pink Day, giving away chemo bag kits and chemo port pillows.

“I am a survivor, and it’s a wonderful feeling that I won my fight against cancer. I give back to Pink Day because I know my donation is going to the right place,” Starkey said. “Sherry is an amazing individual (in organizing the event) even though no one in her family has had breast cancer.”

There is live music from two stage areas, a Gilpin Police sponsored dunking booth and a free foam spray party offered by Radioactive Events Center Inc.

The food court is manned by local eateries such as Claudette’s Kitchen in Leechburg to ensure attendees didn’t leave hungry.

Antwon Knuckles, owner of Claudette’s Kitchen, participated for a second year.

Knuckles sold out of his top-secret, made-in-house saucy barbecue ribs last year during Pink Day. This year, he brought more than 50 racks of ribs — and sold out again.

“It’s extra special to me to participate in Pink Day because I lost my mom to cancer,” Knuckles said. “I like how the community comes together for a great cause.”

Nikki Saxion owns Co-Co Coffeehouse and baked all week to offer hundreds of specialty desserts.

“Pink Day unites the entire town,” Saxion said. “I love the small town camaraderie and the cause.”

Price expressed her gratitude to everyone involved with Pink Day.

“Community feedback has been amazing,” she said. “The town looks forward to Pink Day each year, and we have enormous support from the business people, town council and mayor.”

Joyce Hanz is a freelance writer.

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