'Drop the Puck on Cancer' fundraiser an all-day event in Brentwood Park

| Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 9:05 p.m.

A thousand people are expected to convene in Brentwood Park on Saturday to compete in a dek hockey tournament, have their faces painted, partake in the many edible delights, and help raise money for their neighbors suffering from cancer.

Under the motto: “Good people doing for good people. That's Brentwood for you,” the “Drop the Puck on Cancer” fundraiser will run all day on Saturday in the borough park, located off of Brownsville Road, starting at 7 a.m.

“I just love seeing everybody come together. There's so many walks of life, so many years of Brentwood graduates that come together. It's a feel good day,” said Jodi Mitchell, 38, a 1993 Brentwood High School graduate, who now lives in the Banksville section of Pittsburgh.

“Drop the Puck on Cancer” includes a day full of dek hockey tournaments on the newly finished surface, food in the Brentwood Civic Center, along with a magician, face painter and balloon maker. A Chinese auction includes a chance to win large-scale items that include a grill, a signed Mario Lemieux jersey, Sidney Crosby jersey or a James Gandolfini framed photograph.

There are 16 teams playing in the single elimination event.

The day serves as a way for people connected with Brentwood — and from across the Pittsburgh region — to come together and help those affected by cancer, by getting out their frustration with the bad the disease has created through a game of hockey, said Matt Harkins, 45, a 1987 Brentwood graduate, who now lives in Jefferson Hills.

The event started three years ago after Julie Andrulonis Duttine, a 1983 Brentwood graduate, and Tom Cavataio, a 1984 Brentwood graduate, both of whom suffered from cancer, died.

Staring at the basketball courts one night, Matt Harkins said ideas for the event fell into place.

“We said, ‘We just need a hockey game, something to vent our frustrations,'” Harkins said. “It doesn't matter if we raise $100 or $10, at least it's something.”

Eight Brentwood alumni have worked together on the event, now in its third year, Harkins said. The only requirement for those they help is that they have a connection to Brentwood and are suffering from cancer.

The first year, “Drop the Puck on Cancer” benefited the Duttine-Cavataio fund. Last year, Brentwood residents, students and alumni received donations from the funds raised.

In the last two years, more than $90,000 was raised from the event.

This year, the event is in support of the Duttine-Cavataio fund, Domenick Henry, Kathy Loffel, Jodi Detmer and Jana Faust.

Henry, a 2012 Brentwood graduate, died in February after being diagnosed with osteocercoma a little more than a year prior.

“He was a great kid,” said Cori Protheroe, 31, of Brentwood, Henry's aunt.

As Henry suffered through the disease, the Brentwood community was always there for him with support and events, Protheroe said. The family wants to keep his memory alive through “Dom's Requiem,” a nonprofit they started where money is being given to his mother to get her back on her feet, Protheroe said. Funds, then, will be used to help others with cancer.

They also hope to start a scholarship in Henry's name at Brentwood High School for a student hoping to go into engineering, something he had planned to do.

Faust, 47, a 1985 Brentwood graduate, was diagnosed with breast cancer 16 years ago. The cancer came back four times and she underwent a double mastectomy. She also suffers from lupus.

Two years ago, the pain became different.

Doctors discovered four types of cancers this time including in her lungs, bones and spine.

“It's hard to describe the pain,” Faust said. “I don't know if I can imagine more pain.”

She said she underwent her first chemotherapy treatment on Saturday.

For the organizers, helping out their fellow Brentwood alumni is important.

“Brentwood is such a close-knit community,” said Mark Harkins, 42, a 1989 Brentwood graduate who now lives in Jefferson Hills. “The whole reason we're there is to help people with cancer.”

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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