In a vibrant display of community spirit and support, the 14th Annual Panerathon 10K Run and 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk is set to take place on Sunday, August 27th in downtown Youngstown at the Covelli Centre. This event has become a cornerstone of unity and philanthropy, bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds for a common cause. What sets this event apart is the remarkable achievement of raising a staggering $3.5 million for the Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley over the years, dedicated to bolstering the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center at St. Elizabeth Hospital.
Panerathon was created nearly 14 years ago, which Covelli Enterprises, a franchisee of Panera Bread, has been a part of since the start.
“With the breast cancer mortality rate in Mahoning Valley being among the highest in the nation, the Joanie is crucial to our community,” said Danielle Covelli, Marketing Director, Covelli Enterprises. “100% of proceeds from Panerathon benefit the Joanie and it’s mission, so those participating in the event are helping to save lives going back to the Center. It has allowed individuals to receive world class breast cancer treatment right here in Valley,”
The Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center, the first of its kind in the region, has been a beacon of hope for countless individuals affected by breast cancer. This state-of-the-art center provides comprehensive care, ranging from early detection and diagnosis to advanced treatment options and survivor support.
“The center is gorgeous! I really enjoy working with the patients and staff,” said Alexis Smith, DO, the Co-Medical Director of the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center
“The community is so appreciative of the care we provide, and I truly feel like I make a difference due to the need in this area.”
The event will have a variety of activities that cater to the diverse interests of participants. The PNC Kids Zone, designed for children aged 4 to 10, ensures that families can partake in the event together. The zone features engaging games, activities, and entertainment, fostering a sense of community involvement from a young age.
“This is a very special year for Panerathon, as it is the greatest year of support we have received thus far and we cannot thank the community enough,” added Danielle Covelli.
The event will also include a “Pink Ribbon Area” previously called “Survivor Area” making it inclusive of those who are survivors and those actively going through treatment. The area will feature a memorial wall that will be interactive (people can sign with fabric markers and write a message about why they run) and a “ribbon” will be cut by a group of survivors to mark the opening of the race.
Beyond the numbers and activities, the impact of the Panerathon and the Center are deeply personal. Individuals and families affected by breast cancer find solace in the unity for this center.
“My doctor at the center, Dr. Donald Keenan made me feel well cared for and I can tell he’s an amazing person the way he speaks and cares for his patients,” said Marissa Miller, a patient at the center and participating & fundraising in the event, under “Marissa Milita.” More info, click here. “You can tell he cares and is passionate about his work. He has a heart of gold and I’m so glad he’s on my team of all stars.”
The sight of thousands of people gathering to support a common goal underscores the strength of Mahoning Valley’s commitment to making a positive difference.
“Panerathon is very inspiring for me as a clinician. Sometimes being in the trenches of medicine, I get down from all the sickness that I see, and I forget the impact that I have, added Alexis Smith. “To watch how the community turns out every year to give to this cause and support their loved ones reminds me of why I do this work.”
More information on registration or to make a donation, go to https://panerathon.org/.
Photos Courtesy of Covelli Enterprises.