The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


April 23, 2013

Annual Girls Night Out draws large crowd to combat breast cancer

JOHNSTOWN — Pink decorations, pink lighting and pink hair.

On Tuesday night, the seventh annual Taunia Oechslin Girls Night Out fundraiser drew 763 women to the sold-out Pasquerilla Conference Center in downtown Johnstown.

All proceeds from the females-only event go to the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center in Windber and are used toward increasing breast cancer awareness and ensuring cutting-edge breast care for every woman in the area.

“Tickets sell out within a week,” said chairwoman Meghan Stahl-Skinner. “This is all for the breast care center, what I call the gem at the top of the hill.”

Stahl-Skinner was a friend to Taunia Oechslin, a breast cancer warrior who was diagnosed at age 36.

The two women met in 2003 when they worked together at the American Red Cross.

Oechslin was Stahl-Skinner’s boss, and the two became fast friends, even becoming pregnant at the same time with sons, who are now 9.

After a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2006 at Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center, Oechslin received a clean bill of health and wanted to pay it forward.

Girls Night Out began in 2007 at Anthony’s Restaurant in Richland Township with 250 women and raised $19,000.

After a recurrence of Oechslin’s cancer in 2009, she lost her battle at age 39.

It was Oechslin’s goal for every woman to be educated about breast cancer, understand the value of early detection and receive proper treatment.

“We promised her we would continue to do this in her honor,” Stahl-Skinner said.

The event has brought in more than $335,000 to date and is the largest dinner event in Johnstown.

Oechslin’s goal was to raise $40,000 every year, a dollar for every woman in the United States who will lose her battle with breast cancer annually.

That goal has been surpassed with more than $57,000 raised last year and $55,000 raised two years ago.

Patty Felton, director of Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center, said proceeds go to patient care services at the center, which can include breast imaging techniques such as mammograms, ultrasounds and MRIs, as well as biopsies and surgeries.

“Sometimes insurance doesn’t cover something, such as genetic testing for breast cancer or breast and ovarian cancer syndromes,” Felton said. “In 2011, we lost funding from the Department of Defense, so events like this are more important than ever. It all stays local.”

Following the goal of the breast center to provide education and outreach to the community, gift bags for the evening included information on breast cancer education.

“We want to provide cutting-edge technology close to home,” Felton said. “It’s important to keep up our high level of care.”

Stahl-Skinner heads up a 25-woman committee, which begins its work before Christmas for the April event.

“They’re passionate and dedicated,” Felton said. “Some of them don’t even know Taunia.”

Stahl-Skinner said the evening couldn’t happen without generous donations from local businesses that contribute basket items and in-kind services.

The pinked-out evening featured a pink basket raffle, live and silent auctions, dinner and presentations by speakers on current technologies being used at Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center.

In honor of the event, the Stone Bridge was lit pink Tuesday night.

To read stories in their entirety, visit one of these links:

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Flower2 Flowers' color doesn't have to fade

    Those pots of bright yellow daffodils, Easter lilies and hyacinths gracing the home this weekend do not have to end up in the trash bin when the blooms start to fade.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Refinancing could lower Richland School District's debt by $2.2M

    When Richland School District borrowed funds for its high school project a decade ago, board members circled “2014” on their calendars as a likely first option to refinance the debt.

    April 20, 2014

  • Pipeline to carry shale byproducts

    An 8-inch transmission line crossing Pennsylvania, including four municipalities in Cambria County, is being repurposed to carry some of the by-products from Marcellus and Utica shale production.

    April 20, 2014

  • Judge Creany, Timothy Vets courts gain support

    Signs of success are mostly anecdotal in Pennsylvania’s special courts for veterans, but judicial officials and lawmakers are so convinced of the program, they’re lobbying to expand it.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denne, Williams & Stanton Records hearing scheduled

    A Cambria County judge will consider complaints filed by two Johnstown residents seeking documents related to the city’s municipal waste water operation at hearing at the end of this month.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide