Young cancer survivor takes part in Johnstown Walk of Hope

·2 min read

Jun. 4—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Dominick Iannello was born with a rare form of leukemia. His treatment lasted one year and he was been in remission for nine years.

The 10-year-old boy was out in front of more than 100 walkers on Saturday taking part in the Johnstown Walk of Hope held at Trojan Stadium. The event raises money for local cancer patients and their families.

This year's event was special for Dominick, his mother, Crystal Mitchell, said.

"He had a heart transplant last year," she said. "When he got out of the hospital right after his transplant, we came down during the walk and he only made it part way.

"So far this year, he walked 1 1/2 laps," Mitchell said. "He did really good today."

More than 20 teams of families, friends and co-workers joined cancer survivors in the charity walk that raised more than $70,000 this year.

Marlene Singer started the Walk of Hope organization in 2016 to help local cancer patients with daily needs such as utility bills, car payments, medication and taxes so people don't lose their homes.

"These are the everyday needs patients facing cancer have that they worry about," Singer said.

Cancer survivor Valerie Gjurich led a band of merry walkers that called themselves Team Courage.

"We formed this when my late husband had pancreatic cancer," Gjurich said. "He's been deceased almost five years.

"I'm a breast cancer survivor. This is a great event."

Nina Miller has led Team Nu/Hart since the walk began. Nu/Hart Hair fits women with wigs who suffer from medical hair loss, including cancer.

The group raised $435 selling T-shirts this year.

"We didn't raise a whole lot of money this year, but I think every little bit helps," Miller said.

Erin Goins, director of Women's Services at the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center, partnered with Windber GNY Associates to form a team of 12 walkers.

The Walk of Hope raises money and the profile of cancer survivors.

"I think there's more awareness and people getting out," Goins said. "More people are doing their own self exam, which is very important."