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Stampede in the Park takes on special meaning for Boyce

| Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Rachel Twigg, Victor Flinko and Joe Ionta pose at the 2009 Stampede in the Park event at Boyce Park. Twigg, 25, died last week from bone cancer.
Submitted photo
Rachel Twigg, Victor Flinko and Joe Ionta pose at the 2009 Stampede in the Park event at Boyce Park. Twigg, 25, died last week from bone cancer. Submitted photo

Joe Ionta doesn't live in Plum, but he cherishes the town.

“The community of Plum is special,” said Ionta, of Monroeville, coordinator of Stampede in the Park 5K and one-mile fun run/walk scheduled for July 20 at the Boyce Park Ski Lodge.

“We appreciate all that has been done for the Stampede.”

The race has raised $120,000 over the past six years for the Hillman Cancer Center, said Ionta, head coach of the Plum varsity cross-country and track-and-field teams and a retired Plum teacher.

Ionta was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in the spring of 2006. He has been asymptomatic for seven years.

Mayor Richard Hrivnak said the race is “more special this year” as it is being run in memory of the late Rachel Twigg.

Hrivnak proclaimed July 13-20 “Stamp Out Leukemia Week.”

Twigg, 25, died on Feb. 26 after a 4 12-year battle with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

Twigg was a member of both the Plum Mustangs cross-country and track-and-field squads.

Plum resident Tammy Taylor, another Stampede coordinator, said a couple of events are planned leading up to the race with the intent of raising both awareness and more funding for the Hillman Cancer Center.

Members of the cross-country booster club are conducting the second of two car washes from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on July 13 in the parking lot at King's Restaurant on Route 286 in Plum. Donations also will be collected at the Shop 'n Save on Route 286 during the hours of the car washes.

Also, John Anthony's restaurant at 115 Center New Texas Road is offering patrons a 10-percent discount July 13-20. The discounts will be donated to the Hillman Cancer Society in memory of Twigg. The coupon is on the restaurant's website —

“Anytime there are situations that the community needs to rally together, they answer the call,” Hrivnak said.

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

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