Cancer to take a stomping at marathon

Eric Kieta, Staff Writer

Some Pitt-Johnstown students and a staff member are working together to organize an event to benefit children affected by cancer, according to Pitt-Johnstown Campus and Civic Engagement Director Shaun Hemphill.

A dance marathon is scheduled to take place between noon and midnight Saturday, April 6 at the Pitt-Johnstown Health and Wellness Center.

All of the proceeds are to be donated to the B Positive Foundation, which provides financial support to families of children with cancer, as well as grants to cancer research.

According to the B Positive Foundation website, the organization was formed in the memory of Andrew McDonough of Wilmington DE, a 14-year-old boy, who died of leukemia in 2007. McDonough’s blood type was B positive.

Hemphill is hosting the event with student help.

“(The B Positive Foundation) came to my attention back in 2009. I always wanted to incorporate it into an institution that I worked for,” said Hemphill.

So far, nearly $500 has been raised, he said.

Money raised has come from personal donations, as well as help from student organizations, such as Student Government Association and Greek Life.

Pitt-Johnstown junior Alexis Kelly is one of the students volunteering her time to help organize the event. She said she was approached by Hemphill to help with the event, and she jumped at the opportunity.

“I immediately agreed to it because I believed it was a good cause,” said Kelly. “I love participating in community service activities and events. I thought this would be a great one to bring to Pitt-Johnstown.

According to Kelly, students have contacted out to local business owners for donations to help the B Positive Foundation, as well as organizing fundraisers at places like Sweet Frog and Five Guys in Richland Township.

Students also have helped with advertising, she said.

There is no decided admission charge for the event, but Hemphill said it wouldn’t be more than $5.

He said he plans to host some type of event every year to help the B Positive Foundation or other organizations.

“That’s my wish and goal,” he said.

The theme for future events is subject to change depending on public turnout, he said. “I’ll leave that up to the students.”

Another possible theme for future events could include a 5K run, he said.

The event is open to anyone of any age.

“Anyone can come, but I don’t expect 5-year-olds to be dancing until midnight,” said Hemphill.

Some details are still being worked out, such as prizes to be awarded to winners, but Hemphill said he hopes the event is a success.