YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Runners and walkers gathered in downtown Youngstown Sunday for the 13th annual Panerathon.

The event has raised more than $3 million for the Mercy Health Foundation and the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center.

WKBN/WYTV was a proud sponsor of the event.

Several tSeveral thousand people were at the race, along with food trucks, a mobile mammography unit, and different vendors.

The race helps the Joanie Abdu center at St. Elizabeth’s Youngstown carry out Joanie’s mission to provide care and support for everyone. Since opening in 2011, more than 100,000 exams have been performed at the center.

Liz Mackey is breast cancer survivor who was treated through the center. She was diagnosed at 33.

“The only thing you can do for triple negative is surgery, chemo and radiation and I was given less than five years to live,” Mackey said.

Mackey is celebrating 22 years of being cancer free after having a double mastectomy, chemo, and radiation.
She said how important being positive was during the process.

“You’re gonna have bad days, of course. Have that bad day but the next day, get up,” she said.

Carla White is another brave survivor who fought to find the positives.

“I know I’m okay, and you know there’s always that thought that it could come back. Every time you have a little pain, ‘Oh no, it might be my liver or maybe I have bone cancer,’ but it’s just I’m human,” White said.

Claire Jones, Carla and Liz were all treated through the Joanie Abdu center and call themselves the “Joanie sisters.” Jones says having a loving support system was so important during her 33 radiation treatments.

“Throughout the process, it was rough. I lost my hair but my family and friends supported me and the good doctors got me through it,” Jones said.

Claire Jones stressed the importance of check-ups.

“Please, go. Get your mammogram. Do your regular monthly self-exams. If you feel any lumps, soreness, redness, please go immediately,” she said.

Joanie Abdu’s promise is for everyone to have access to the Comprehensive Breast Care Center as well as the mobile mammography unit, which was launched in 2016.