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Bowling fundraiser in Plum enters its fourth year

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Cancer touches the lives of most people.

The disease's impact on Seanna Bell's life spurred her to action.

Bell, 23, said her friend, Cathy Elder of Plum, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and died a year later.

Bell, also of Plum, who is an amateur bowler, decided in 2009 to put her expertise to work to help raise money for breast cancer research.

Bell organized the first Bowl for the Cure fundraiser in 2010.

And she hasn't stopped.

Bell is in the process of making plans for the fourth annual Bowl for the Cure Event on May 18 at Nesbit's Lanes in Plum.

“I thought it would be a one-year event,” Bell said.

“But seeing the (breast cancer) survivors from the first year kept me going.”

The three previous fundraisers have gleaned $7,000 for the Pittsburgh affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, said Debbie Bell, Seanna Bell's mother.

The national event, in conjunction with the United States Bowling Congress — an oversight committee for bowling tournaments — has raised more than $9 million.

Seanna Bell said last week she is just 25 bowlers shy of the 120 mark.

Each participant bowls three games of nine pins with no tap, meaning any bowler who knocks down nine or more pins on his or her first ball is awarded a strike.

The event also includes a Chinese auction with about 30 baskets and a 50/50 raffle, and pizza, soda and a snack are served during the event.

The event has an awards ceremony after the final game.

Plum Mayor Richard Hrivnak each year sponsors a team.

The event holds special meaning for Hrivnak.

Cancer has hit close to home in the mayor's family.

Hrivnak said Rori Smith, his sister-in-law, a teacher in the Plum School District, was diagnosed with lymphoma when she was in college and overcame the disease.

Smith's daughter, Hannah Smith, 16, also was diagnosed with lymphoma in the past couple of years and is in remission after undergoing chemotherapy.

“It touches home,” Hrivnak said.

The mayor is proud of Bell's efforts and the work of others in Plum to help those in need.

“It is really almost not even surprising what people do in this town,” Hrivnak said.

“We need to help our fellow men and women. It is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Seanna is amazing.”

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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