Leechburg makes breast cancer benefit a community event

| Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

When Gary Peterman started selling the ‘Invincibelle Spirit' pink hydrangea plant at The Gifted Garden, his garden shop in Leechburg, something remarkable bloomed.

An idea for a charitable event.

“For every pink hydrangea plant I sold, the company (Proven Winners) donated $1 to breast cancer research,” Peterman says.” I sort of built off of the flower idea itself and started a local event to help raise money for breast cancer research.”

Plans sprouted, and the Leechburg Pink Day blossomed into a successful charity event.

The event organizers, lifelong friends, are Sherry Price and Vicki Peterman, wife of Gary. All three are Leechburg residents with a passion for revitalizing the small borough nestled next to the Kiskiminetas River in Armstrong County.

“Last year was our inaugural year, and we had a great turnout of about 400 to 500 people,” Vicki Peterman says. “Our goal this year is to raise $3,000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.”

“We had perfect weather last year, perfect entertainment, and it was a great day,” Gary Peterman says.

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is a nonprofit with a mission to achieve a cure for breast cancer by providing funding for worldwide research. Of every dollar spent by the foundation, 91 cents goes for breast cancer research and awareness programs.

Last year, Leechburg's Pink Day raised $2,050 after expenses. Price and Vicki Peterman mailed the proceeds to the foundation and received a thank-you note.

The event encompasses Market and Main streets in Leechburg.

“Pink Day has two purposes,” Price says. “One is to raise awareness and money for BCRF and the other is to bring attention to Leechburg, it's shops and restaurants, and to encourage people to ‘shop local.' ”

Included in Pink Day will be specialty vendors, food, crafts, a car wash hosted by Leechburg's senior high-school class of 2014, Chinese auction, 50/50 raffle, entertainment, Orphans of The Storm booth, Kids Zone at Kiski Valley Assembly of God and more.

Participating Leechburg restaurants and shops include: Coco Coffee House, Graff Gourmet & Specialty Foods, Fox's Pizza Den, Leechburg Moose Club, Dizzy's Place Bar & Grille, The River's Edge, Ralph's Florist, Leechburg Area Community Association, Romeo's Tire, Inner Strength, The Gifted Garden, Leechburg Floral and Twisted Thistle.

“Last year, Leechburg was filled with people enjoying themselves, and it was an exciting day,” Price says. “Our goal is to grow and have this every year.

‘Most Leechburg businesses participate in the event, either by becoming a sponsor, having a sidewalk sale, providing a food booth or donating items for the Chinese auction.

Price encourages everyone to attend and “support breast cancer research, celebrate Leechburg, make this year a bigger success, and have fun.”

Joyce Hanz is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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