'Every year it grows': 32 teams support Johnstown Walk of Hope, help fight cancer

·2 min read

Jun. 5—Marlene Singer applauded the community participation at the Johnstown Walk of Hope, which she's coordinated with help for the last six years.

"Every year it grows," she said.

Saturday's event at Trojan Stadium in downtown Johnstown — which raised funds to fight cancer — saw 32 teams participate, more than double the number from the inaugural walk.

Singer said she believes the local support comes from the knowledge that the funds raised help area residents.

"I guarantee that every dollar that comes through the gates today will go to patients who need it," she said.

Money raised goes to the Chan Soon-Shiong Medical Center at Windber, Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Conemaugh Cancer Center and a children's fund for those being treated outside the area.

Saturday's goal was $55,000 and morning donations were more than $54,000.

Singer expected to easily exceed the targeted amount.

"Marlene, she just does a wonderful job," cancer survivor Cindy Applett said.

She was at Trojan Stadium to show her support for her friend, Singer, and all those participating.

Applett has been battling metastatic breast cancer for three years and just found out that her disease is inactive.

She said she's been well taken care of at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center and by her physician, Ibrahim Sbeitan.

Walkers made several loops around the stadium in the sunny weather, many wearing matching shirts with the names of their teams on the backs.

One of those groups was Jamie and Rob Heinrick and Rachel, Teo and Violet Heckman.

They were walking for Rob Heinrick's aunt and Rachel's great aunt, Susie, who lost her battle to pancreatic cancer two weeks ago.

"That's a tough one," Rob Heinrick said about his aunt's illness.

Aside from honoring their family member, the group, who were a founding team, were also happy to lend a hand to a good cause.

"That's the best part," Rob Heinrick said. "You get to help actual people in our community."

He praised Singer and the organizers of the event and the fact that all of the money raised remains local.

He also gave a shout-out to the Greater Johnstown School District for support of the Walk of Hope and use of the facility.

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