KRISTEN MULLEN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Mike Volpitta of Avoca releases a lantern during a past Paint Pittston Pink event at the Pittston waterfront along the Susquehanna River.

Pittston will trade its traditional tomato red for a passionate pink over the next few weeks.

The annual Paint Pittston Pink initiative will hold numerous events to raise money for cancer research and clinical trials as it looks to establish namesake funds at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida. Those funds will give the Paint Pittston Pink a little more say in how its donations are used, said Barb Sciandra, a seven-year cancer survivor who cofounded the nonprofit with Qiana Lehman.

Paint Pittston Pink has raised about $330,000 over its first five years, Sciandra said, and hopes to add another $100,000 to that total this fall.

“What we really pride ourself (on is) that we’re an all-volunteer organization,” Sciandra said. “So 100% of our proceeds are donated to research. It’s really why we started this organization. We’re kind of turned off by other organizations that have high-salary CEOs. We’re a passionate group of people who are really just trying to raise money for research because if there’s no research, there’s no cure.”

Paint Pittston Pink has given $175,000 to the Moffitt Center, where Dr. Brian Czerniecki has conducted immunotherapy cancer research. Sciandra has participated in a clinical trial there, receiving booster vaccines that aim to teach bodies to attack new or lingering cancer cells, thereby increasing the immune response in patients.

“With clinical trials, we like to see 10 years’ worth of data, that’s just kind of the norm, and we felt like that was great all of these people have gotten vaccines,” Sciandra said. “But you still need to follow up with them over the next couple of years to see how they’re doing.”

And while the nonprofit’s “pink” name alludes to the traditional color of breast cancer support, Sciandra noted her group supports research for all cancers.

DAVE SCHERBENCO / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Laurie Olzinski and Diane Surdouski father at at Franklin’s in Wilkes-Barre for previous Paint Pittston Pink Fundraiser.

“A lot of the research that they’re doing, it has implications on other types of cancer,” she said.

The 2019 schedule kicks off with Dueling Pianos on Friday, Sept. 20. Held in memory of Lisa Jones Kutra, an advocate for metastatic breast cancer research who recently died of cancer, the show will feature Piano Fight Club at the Pittston Knights of Columbus Home Association, 55 S. Main St. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the music follows from 7 to 10. All proceeds go toward establishing the Paint Pittston Pink Fund at Penn, where Sciandra said she and Kutra received treatment.

Also filling up the next few weeks are returning favorites, such as Paint the Night Pink, which includes a lantern release and awards presentation on Friday, Sept. 27, in Pittston’s Riverfront Park off Kennedy Boulevard. The gathering starts at 7 p.m., followed by the awards at 7:30 and the lantern release at 7:45. Lanterns cost $40 and are available through the event page at

Sciandra called the annual Gentleman’s Dash, in which a group of guys race through Pittston wearing heels, “a crowd favorite.”

“It’s really neat just to watch the guys really start getting into it,” she said. “They’re doing their own T-shirt sales and making their own videos. It really is just a lot of fun to compete against each other.”

Guests are encouraged to wear pink for the sixth annual Celebrity Bartending Night on Friday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Red Mill, 340 S. Main St. The event will not only put Rock 107’s Prospector, Joe Badowski, Anthony Capozucca, Lou Ciampi, Susan Magnotta, Dr. Santina Morreale, Kyle Reed, attorney Greg Skibitsky, Jenna Strzelecki and Dori Williams behind the bar but also will feature several “celebrity bouncers”: Sammy Agolino, Dr. Shawn Casey, Ricky Joseph, Joe Lynn, Tony Marranca and Chris Martin. Admission is a $10 donation.

Other events are in the works as well, and up-to-date information will be available through the Paint Pittston Pink Facebook page and

“Whether you’re a kid or a high school student or a college stud or senior citizen, we’ve made sure that throughout the next couple of weeks we have something to offer everybody,” Sciandra said. “And it’s a lot of fun.”


DAVE SCHERBENCO / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Participants in a past Paint Pittston Pink Gentlemen’s Dash make their way to the finish line.

Paint Pittston Pink events

For more information, visit the Paint Pittston Pink Facebook page or contact Barb Sciandra at or 570-407-0780.

Friday, Sept. 20

  • Dueling Pianos, doors open, 6 p.m.; music, 7 p.m.; Knights of Columbus, 55 S. Main St., Pittston; $10, benefits establishment of the Paint Pittston Pink Fund at University of Pennsylvania; visit the Facebook event page

Wednesday, Sept. 25

  • Event with food provided by Rikasa, Arts e Fekts Gallery, 71 S. Main St., Pittston; details to be determined

Thursday, Sept. 26

  • Meet Your Match Bachelor and Bachelorette Auction, 6 to 9:30 p.m., Tomato Bar & Bistro, 7 Tomato Festival Drive, Pittston; visit the Facebook event page

Friday, Sept. 27

  • Paint the Night Pink and awards presentation, gathering, 7 p.m.; awards, 7:30; lantern launch, 7:45; Riverfront Park, off Kennedy Boulevard, Pittston; $40 per lantern; visit the Facebook event page or

Saturday, Sept. 28

  • Festival of Life: Give a Pint, Get a Pint Third annual Blood Drive, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Susquehanna Brewing Co., 635 S. Main St., Pittston; visit the Facebook event page
  • Poker Run, noon to 4 p.m., from Sabatini’s Bottleshop & Bar, 1901 Wyoming Ave., Exeter, to Susquehanna Brewing Co.; visit the Facebook event page

Sunday, Sept. 29

DAVE SCHERBENCO / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Runners get hit with pink powder as they head to the finish during a past Paint Pittston Pink 5K.


  • Purse and Cash Bingo, 2 p.m., St. Maria Goretti Banquet Hall, 42 Redwood Drive, Laflin; features celebrity servers and announcers; $25 advance/$30 at door; visit the Facebook event page or
  • Meat Raffle, 6 p.m., Sabatini’s Bottleshop & Bar, 1901 Wyoming Ave., Exeter

Monday, Sept. 30

Thursday, Oct. 3

  • Yoga and self-care session with Dr. Christine E. Kiesinger, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Sapphire Salon and Destination Spa, 247-249 S. Main St., Pittston; dress comfortably and bring a journal and yoga mat; $25; visit the Facebook event page or

Friday, Oct. 4

  • Paint the Red Mill Pink! Celebrity Bartending Night, 7 p.m., the Red Mill, 340 S. Main St., Pittston; with celebrity bartenders and celebrity bouncers; $10 at door; visit the Facebook event page

Saturday, Oct. 5

  • Mass, 9 a.m., St. John the Evangelist Church, 35 William St., Pittston
  • Color Me Pink 5K, 11 a.m.; Family Fun Walk, 11:05 a.m.; Gentlemen’s Dash, noon, downtown Pittston; $40 competitive 5K/$35 noncompetitive 5K/$35 Caped CURE-Sader Family Fun Walk (individual)/$50 Caped CURE-Sader Family Fun Walk (family; maximum two adults);
  • Hammer Out Cancer, 12:30 p.m.; details to be determined