The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 17, 2010

Show of support

People form ribbon to raise awareness

Ted Potts

— Nearly 500 people turned out late Sunday afternoon at the Pitt-Johnstown soccer field to form a human pink ribbon in support of breast cancer awareness.

“We’re very happy with the turnout. People of all ages came for a good cause,” said Lacey Slavich of Windber Research Institute.

“I think we’ll want to continue this effort next year,” she said.

The ribbon was created under bright sunshine. A brisk wind blew over the field.

Monica James of Richland Township, a breast cancer survivor since October 1997, was part of the ribbon.

“I planned on coming here since I heard about the project,” she said. “It’s so important for women to have yearly breast exams.”

James attended Sunday’s event with a heavy heart. Her father, Frank Paruch, died earlier in the day at Windber Medical Center.

“He would have wanted me to come here and take part in the human ribbon,” she said.

Susan Hayes-Penrod of Richland was there with her daughter, who is a Richland School District cheerleader.

“The cheerleaders were asked to take part today,” she said.

“It’s important to get the word out about breast cancer and to make younger girls more aware of it,” Hayes-Penrod said.

Mike Hruska of Hollsopple came to support breast cancer awareness.

“Breast cancer touches people we all know and love,” he said.

Ashleigh McClelland of Evans City, Butler County, a Pitt-Johnstown student, said her grandmother has been a breast cancer survivor for two years.

“I hope this (the human ribbon) raises more awareness so people will contribute more money to fund research into breast cancer,” she said.

While there was no cost to be a part of the human ribbon, donations were accepted for Windber Research Institute’s endowment fund to support breast cancer research.

Tom Kurtz, institute president and CEO, was part of the ribbon.

He was encouraged to see the response by the young people.

“Breast cancer affects people of all ages,” he said.

Those forming the ribbon were given pink sheets of paper to hold up when the photograph was taken.