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Pink Party honors Jeannette resident

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
Jeannette residents Lucille Bittner, April Parsons and Kathy Wolfe enjoy the Pink Party.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
The Rivardo/Parsons family were honored at the 'Get Pink' Party. Anna Marie Rivardo, a breast cancer survivor, is seated with her twin daughters Anna Rivardo and April Parsons. Anna Marie Rivardo was honored at the event along with three other survivors.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
Diane Aujay, April Parsons, and Aujay's sister, Babs Naples, enjoy an evening out at the Sabika Jewelry 'Get Pink' Party for Breast Cancer Awareness at Lakeview. Parsons is receiving treatment for breast cancer and was the guest of honor for the evening.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and pink abounds in communities across the country as the National Breast Cancer Foundation spreads the word about breast cancer awareness and the importance of early detection.

In Westmoreland County, the dome at the courthouse has been lit in pink for the month and at Ferrante's Lakeview, owners and sisters Susan Domasky and Cindy Henderson with longtime friend Kathy Greer, decided to join in and spread the word by holding a Sabika Jewelry “Get Pink” Party.

Sabika Jewelry is a home-based jewelry sales company that bills itself as “a company by women for women.”

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the company is donating a percentage of the sales to the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Susan B. Komen Foundation.

In addition to appetizers, there were pink ribbon cookies and pink cocktails. The hostesses also honored five area women.

The guest of honor at the event was Pleasant Park resident April Parsons, who is in treatment for breast cancer and shared her story.

Parsons found her tumor while playing with her cat — he jumped on her chest just below her shoulder and it hurt. She felt a lump.

“I feel my story is important because my lump wasn't actually in my breast, it was above my breast, but it's still breast cancer,” said Parsons.

She was tested for a genetic marker, because her mother Anna Rivardo of Jeannette had breast cancer. Fortunately, Parsons does not carry the marker.

On July 5, Parsons had a lumpectomy and receives chemotherapy treatments every 21 days. Earlier this month, she received her fourth treatment and hopes to be finished with chemotherapy in time for the holiday season.

But, after New Year's, Parsons must then submit to seven weeks of radiation treatment, five days each week.

“I don't know if it was denial, but I was devastated when I found out how much treatment I had to have, but I had made it this far and I wasn't going to quit now,” said Parsons.

“Losing my hair was really hard. For two weeks, I checked every day and even in the middle night. On the 15th day I lost my hair. I cried and I was very upset. I already had a wig and the next day I got up and put on my wig, then I got dressed and put on my make-up and went out to a meeting. Now I've added a wig to my daily routine. I haven't cried about my hair since.”

Of the entire situation, Parsons said, “the waiting was the worst.”

She has relied heavily on her mother, who has been a breast cancer survivor for 14 years.

The “Pink Party” was attended by a many Jeannette residents including Rivardo, Dawn Gettemy Rivardo, Babs Naples, Diane Aujay, Karen Peltier, Clara Ranier, Donna Wolfe, Lara Gillespie and Lucille Bittner.

The breast cancer survivors who were honored at the event and received a vase of pink roses were Anna Maria Rivardo, Debbie Gregory, Connie Spagnola and Kay Walton.

At last count, Domasky, Henderson, and Greer had raised $7,000 at the party. Ten percent of the entire party sales will go to breast cancer awareness, research or treatment; an additional 50 percent of the sale of select earrings and a special Pink Party necklace will also be donated.

Margie Stanislaw is a contributing writer.