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Foundation Announces LGMD Fundraising Events October 23, 2017

The CureLGMD2i Foundation, formerly the Samantha J. Brazzo Foundation, is a local organization that is having a worldwide impact.

"Since changing our name, we have received many more donations from people around the world," said Kelly Brazzo. "It's a global disease."

LGMD2i is a type of Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD) that is progressive and causes weakness and muscle wasting mainly in the hip and shoulder areas. Eventually, individuals with LGMD2i can experience cardiovascular, respiratory, and overall physical complications that typically become significant in adolescence. Kelly and her husband, Keith Brazzo, who live in East Hempfield Township, formed the foundation in 2011 after their daughter Samantha, now age 9, was diagnosed with the disease. The foundation has awarded nearly $330,000 to fund research directly related to LGMD2i.

"We are hopeful that with the groundbreaking work being done with gene therapy, drug screenings, and clinical trials, a successful treatment will halt the progression of LGMD2i," Kelly said.

The Brazzos reported some progress in the last year regarding research. The CureLGMD2i Foundation has taken on a volunteer medical director who not only specializes in orthopedics but who also has a young son with LGMD2i. A $10,000 grant was awarded to Washington State University, which is testing an FDA-approved medication for an off-label usage. Also, Samantha's neurologist at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore has partnered with a pharmaceutical company to run a drug trial to treat symptoms of LGMD2i that so far has not produced any side effects. The Brazzos are especially excited about work being done with a new technique called CRISPR, a gene editing process that showed positive results on a mouse with LGMD2i.

"The plan is to do CRISPR and gene therapy on mice, and if it's successful, it would then be offered to adults (with LGMD2i)," Kelly explained. "It's our next big funding push, and we are waiting for two big grant proposals (to be finalized)."

Kelly serves on the board of LGMD-Info.org, which is the information hub for LGMD. The organization set Sept. 30 as the global LGMD Awareness Day. The Brazzos secured a proclamation regarding the day from Gov. Tom Wolf, and they participated in a Muscular Dystrophy Association walk in Hershey on Sept. 30.

"The biggest thing is raising awareness," Kelly said. "The more people are diagnosed, the more can register to participate in trials to find treatments."

To fund those trials and other research, the CureLGMD2i Foundation hosts an annual game night. This year's event will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, at Eden Resort & Suites, 222 Eden Road, Lancaster. Tickets are required for the event and are inclusive of a variety of food and beverages, as well as the opportunity to win lots of prizes. There will also be live and silent auctions, with vacation home getaways and tickets to Steelers and Sixers games listed as just a few of the things that will be up for bids. Samantha's 12-year-old sister, Marina, will speak at the event, and several people with LGMD2i will attend.

Limited tickets are available, so folks should not delay in registering by following the link at www.curelgmd2i.com/events. Prize donations and volunteers to staff the game night are welcome, and interested individuals may contact Kelly at kbrazzo@yahoo.com or call 717-405-7518.

Additionally, a golf outing has been organized by a friend of the family to take place at 9 a.m. on Oct. 28 at Crossgates Golf Club, 1 Crossland Pass, Millersville. Folks who would like to participate may follow the link at the CureLGMD2i Events page listed previously.

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Semper Fi 5K Set For Veterans Day October 20, 2017

Elizabethtown residents and Marine Corps veterans Steve Bowers and Richard Brinkman have completed more than 30 marathons between the two of them, and each has run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., 10 consecutive years. "Once you run that for 10 years in a row, you're in a special club," Bowers said. "We're both pretty proud of that."

Now, Bowers and Brinkman are putting all of that running experience to good use as the race directors for the Semper Fi 5K Run/Walk on Veterans Day, Saturday, Nov. 11. The Marine Corps League of Lancaster County Detachment 294 welcomes runners and walkers of all ages to participate in the race, which will step off promptly at 8 a.m. from Columbia High School (CHS), 901 Ironville Pike, Columbia. "This is a Marine Corps League run, but we're going to be honoring all the veterans," Bowers said.

Race day check-in and registration will be open from 6:45 to 7:45 a.m. Interested individuals may register at www.pretzelcitysports.com/online-registration through Wednesday, Nov. 8.

Participants will follow a route down Ironville Pike and through borough streets to the finish line at Locust and Bank streets. Bowers described the point-to-point course as a very fast, downhill route. "You can see the finish line from the starting line," remarked Bowers.

A shuttle bus service will be available at Columbia Crossing to transport runners back to CHS for their vehicles after the race. Organizers will also offer a free baggage claim service so participants may check a bag or clothing item before the race that they would like to have waiting for them at the finish line.

Prior to the race, the presentation of colors will be led by the Marine Corps League of Lancaster County color guard, and the national anthem will be sung.

Mile markers will be provided at every half-mile, and a water and aid station will be set up at the halfway point. Marine cadences and music will play at various parts of the course, and Marine Corps veterans will be calling out motivation from the sidelines.

Organizers encourage area residents and spectators to cheer on the runners and wave flags in honor of Veterans Day. "The last mile is straight down Locust Street, and we'd really like the public to join us in cheering on the runners and in the celebration (of veterans)," Bowers stated.

Afterward, everyone is invited to take what Bowers called "a cool-down walk" a few blocks farther to the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center, 41 Walnut St., Columbia, for post-race festivities. Live music will be performed by Musicians Bedside Manner, and free food and beverages will be available.

Children ages 3 to 12 may take part in the quarter-mile Chesty's Challenge Fun Run, named after the Marine Corps bulldog mascot. Registration will open at 8 a.m. at Columbia Crossing, and the fun run will take off at 9 a.m. Each participant will receive a T-shirt, medal, and goodie bag. A Chesty mascot will also visit the event.

An awards ceremony, including time to honor and recognize veterans for their service and sacrifice, will begin at approximately 9 a.m. at Columbia Crossing. Cash prizes and plaques will be given to the overall male and female winners, as well as to the first-place masters (age 50 and up) male and female finishers. The top three finishers in various five-year age range categories will receive awards, and additional door prizes will be randomly distributed to participants. "We do have a couple of surprise awards, too," Bowers noted.

Proceeds from the event will support outreach programs for veterans in the greater Lancaster County area, including Victory House of Lancaster and the Lebanon VA Medical Center.

For more details, readers may visit www.semperfi5k.rocks. To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the race, interested individuals may call Bowers at 717-361-8639.

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Foster Parent Sessions Planned October 19, 2017

Families United Network, 412 S. Angle St., Mount Joy, is seeking foster families. The organization will host foster parent orientation sessions on Thursdays, Nov. 2 and 16, from 6 to 8 p.m.

To attend either of the sessions, readers may call 800-722-0136 or email Holly at htanner@families4kids.org.

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PCD Receives Donation October 18, 2017

The Capital Region Partnership for Career Development (PCD) recently announced it has been awarded $29,500 from the South Central Workforce Development Board (SCPaWorks) to assist with program support for the 2017-18 program year. The funding will assist with the development and ongoing needs of student and educator programs. The programs are dedicated to assisting students, educators, counselors, administrators and other relevant district personnel in Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry and northern York counties with career exploration and development.

The funding will help to provide Educator in the Workplace sessions, educator professional development sessions, Student Career Connections sessions and a pre-apprenticeship feasibility study for the region.

The Capital Region Partnership for Career Development is an intermediary organization dedicated to providing career exploration and development opportunities that help with student career awareness, exploration and experiences and align with the needs of the workforce. PCD notes that additional support is needed in the forms of funding, program support and partnerships. For more information, readers may visit www.crpcd.org or contact PCD at info@crpcd.org or 717-732-8480.

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Evans To Lead Iron Furnace Walking Tour October 18, 2017

With the advent of the "hot blast" anthracite-fired iron furnace in the 1830s, according to Rivertownes PA USA president Dave Haneman, the stretch of land between Marietta and Columbia became a hotbed of activity. Using the Susquehanna River as a conveyor of anthracite coal from northeast Pennsylvania, as well as the Pennsylvania canal and railroad systems, the eight furnaces provided "pig iron" for the quickly growing population of the United States.

The furnaces are just one element of the region's rich history that Rivertownes aims to preserve and promote. The nonprofit organization will host its biannual Iron Furnace Walking Tour from 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5, beginning at Breezy View Overlook, 881 Chickies Hill Road, Columbia.

The tour is free to the public, but donations for the Musselman Vesta Iron Furnace Center in Marietta will be appreciated. Individuals may preregister by calling Haneman at 717-314-4060.

After an overview of the valley, attendees will drive to the Musselman Vesta Iron Furnace Center, located in the Chickies Rock County Park. The center features displays, articles, and drawings that tell the stories of the region's iron industry and the residents who made the area "the Pittsburgh of the East." Additionally, attendees will be able to view the diorama of the Musselman Vesta Furnace, which produced iron until 1926. Following time at the center, participants will step off for the walk, which will be approximately three quarters of a mile along a flat, paved surface on the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail.

Walking tour attendees will visit seven furnaces, including the Marietta Furnaces, the Donegal Furnace, and Chickies Furnaces I and II, before ending at the Henry Clay Furnace, where Dr. June Evans will discuss the archaeological digs and findings at the site.

A Hellam native, Evans is a retired archaeologist who taught at Millersville University (MU). She conducted five MU summer archaeology field schools at the site of the ruins of the Henry Clay Furnace between 1988 and 1994. The classes recovered more than 50,000 artifacts, which are cataloged and stored at the Musselman Vesta Iron Furnace Center.

Evans has been conducting furnace tours for more than 25 years.

For more information, readers may email dshaneman@embarqmail.com or visit www.rivertownes.org.

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"Columbia Four" To Run Marine Corps Marathon October 13, 2017

On Oct. 22, the self-dubbed "Columbia Four" - Paul Resch, Jeff Detz, Jeff Seibert, and Jason Bootie - will run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. Three of the men - Resch, Seibert, and Bootie - will be running their first marathon. Detz, a Marine Corps veteran, will be running his second, having run the same race last year.

The friends, who range in age from 36 to 59, have two goals: finish the 26.2 miles and raise $13,100 ($500 per mile) for Hospice & Community Care. All donations will be designated for the Hospice Care for Veterans program, which provides compassionate care to veterans and their families. To date, the runners have raised almost $10,000 toward their goal.

Through Hospice Care for Veterans, staff and volunteers provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support to veterans and their families. This specialized support, which is focused on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening, and grateful acknowledgement of the patient's military service, can be especially meaningful to veterans at end of life. In 2016, Hospice & Community Care provided services to more than 600 veterans in the local area.

The Columbia runners are pleased to have the support and encouragement of eight veterans and one active-duty service member who are serving as honorary chairmen of their fundraising campaign. All five branches of the military are represented among the group, which includes: Don Armold of Lancaster (Marines); Keith Combs of Columbia (Navy); Andrew Combs of Norfolk, Va. (Navy, active duty); David Detz of Leesville, La. (Army, retired); John H. Hahn of Columbia (Air Force); Joseph "Gabby" Hartman of Columbia (Navy, WWII); Lamar Kauffman of Columbia (Coast Guard); Benjamin Zeamer of Columbia (Army); and Ed Wickenheiser of Columbia (Marines, retired).

The Marine Corps Marathon attracts approximately 30,000 runners from all 50 states and more than 50 countries. The race steps off in Arlington, Va., and crosses over the Potomac River into Washington, D.C., before ending back in Arlington at the Marine Corps War Memorial.

The Columbia runners entered the Marine Corps Marathon lottery in March and were selected to participate in the race. They began training in April and estimate they each have logged nearly 1,000 miles running and walking - roughly the distance from Columbia to Orlando.

Raising money for Hospice & Community Care is especially meaningful to Resch, who lost his grandfather in June. He and his family were thankful for the compassion shown by hospice employees during that difficult time. "Training for my first marathon has been a life-changing experience," Resch said. "Come race day, my motivation will be knowing that I'm not just running for personal satisfaction, but I'm running for veterans and their families who are going through difficult end-of-life experiences."

"I feel proud and privileged to run the Marine Corps Marathon and raise funds to help our amazing heroes who have served our country and for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to give us our freedoms and protections in the greatest country in the world," Bootie said.

Seibert echoed those sentiments, saying that he is often reminded of the saying "All gave some, and some gave all." "While my miniscule efforts in this marathon can't offer anything to those who gave all, if I can somehow offer my gratitude to those who gave some in perhaps their final days on earth, then my efforts in this marathon will surely be worth it," stated Seibert.

To donate, interested individuals may visit www.hospiceconnect.org/give and enter "Marine Corps Marathon" under special instructions.

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TCCCA Sets Tree Planting Events October 6, 2017

The Tri-County Conewago Creek Association (TCCCA) will sponsor several tree planting events that are geared toward improving water quality in the Conewago Creek and its tributaries. TCCCA invites the public to help accomplish this goal since water quality affects everyone.

The tree plantings will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on the following Saturdays: Oct. 14 at Hershey Meadows near where the Conewago Rail Trail crosses over Route 743; Oct. 21 at Hershey Meadows; Oct. 28 along Old Hershey Road on the Conewago Creek; and Nov. 4 where Valley Road intersects Gallagher Run. The locations for the last four events on Nov. 11; Nov. 18; Dec. 2; and Dec. 9 are yet to be announced.

Volunteers may consider bringing sunscreen, bug spray, water, waterproof or muck boots, work gloves, shovels, and mini-sledge or heavy hammers to drive in stakes.

The projects will be funded by a grant that TCCCA recently received from the Lancaster County Conservancy's Water Week Grant Program. TCCCA will revamp and maintain established riparian buffers, and the organization hopes to find new landowners to conduct water quality improvement projects. Riparian buffers filter runoff, provide shade for streams, help hold stream banks in place, and provide habitat for wildlife.

Community members who would like to volunteer and landowners who are interested in hosting a project may contact Stewart Williammee at conewagocreek@yahoo.com.

Anyone who would like to help out but is not available during the event times may also contact Williammee, as smaller groups will plant trees on weekdays on a flexible schedule.

Cancelations due to bad weather will be posted at www.conewagocreek.org. To learn more about TCCCA, readers may visit the website.

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Low-Cost Vaccine Clinic Planned October 6, 2017

PAWS and The Dogs' Den will hold a low-cost vaccine clinic for cats and dogs on Sunday, Oct. 15, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at PAWS, 9803 Old Jonestown Road, Grantville.

Dr. Kate Papp will provide distemper and rabies vaccinations for cats and dogs for a nominal fee. For a three-year rabies vaccination, owners must provide proof of previous rabies vaccination with a certificate. Microchips will also be available for a fee, with the price including registration for the animal.

This is a first-come, first-served clinic, and breeders will not be serviced. Cash and checks will be accepted as payment. All cats must be in secure carriers and all dogs must be leashed. For more information on the clinic, contact Denise at 717-648-0773 or Doggieden@aol.com.

For more information on PAWS, visit www.pawsofpa.org, call 717-957-8122 or email info@pawsofpa.org.

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Red Sand Project Announced October 4, 2017

YWCA Lancaster, with the support of the Lancaster Crime Prevention Task Force, invites Lancaster businesses, organizations, and community members to participate in the Red Sand Project during the International Week Without Violence from Monday, Oct. 16, through Friday, Oct. 20.

Created by Molly Gochman, the Red Sand Project is an art installation project intended to draw awareness to vulnerable persons in the community and to present-day human trafficking. Red sand is used to transform the cracks in sidewalks and symbolize the most overlooked and vulnerable persons in the community.

YWCA of Lancaster will be distributing Red Sand Project kits for free to businesses, organizations, and individuals who want to participate. To request a kit, readers may contact Elizabeth Navarro by calling 717-869-5004 or emailing enavarro@ywcalancaster.org.

For more than 20 years, the World YWCA has dedicated the third week in October as a Week Without Violence. Efforts during the week emphasize marginalized groups who are often the largest target populations of violence. Week Without Violence 2017 highlights gender-based violence and specifically human trafficking, which disproprtionately affects women and girls.

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Foundation Offers Trees October 4, 2017

Everyone who joins the Arbor Day Foundation in October will receive 10 free trees as part of its Trees for America campaign. The program encourages everyone to participate in environmental stewardship through the planting of trees.

Everyone who joins in October will receive five free crapemyrtle trees or 10 free autumn classics selected for their area. The 10 autumn classics may include: two sugar maples, two red maples, and one each of scarlet oak, sweetgum, northern red oak, silver maple, white flowering dogwood, and Washington hawthorn.

The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting, between Wednesday, Nov. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 10. The 6- to 12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow, and if they do not, they will be replaced free of charge. Planting instructions will be enclosed with each shipment of trees.

To receive 10 free trees, readers may send a membership contribution with their tree selection at www.arborday.org/october.

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PFSA Offers Training In Spanish September 29, 2017

Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA) has announced that it offers in-person training by Spanish-speaking educators and bilingual training materials on recognizing and reporting child abuse.

In 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services awarded PFSA a multiyear contract to provide face-to-face training in child abuse recognition and reporting for mandated reporters - professionals and some volunteers who are required under Pennsylvania law to report suspected abuse to ChildLine, the state's 24/7 hotline. Now, those individuals can receive the Mandated Reporter Training (MRT) in the Spanish language.

As of Sept. 1, PFSA offers on-site, in-person, and on-demand, online, MRT sessions across the commonwealth. PFSA has qualified bilingual trainers who will present the material in Spanish.

In addition, organizational trainers through PFSA's Train-the-Trainer program for MRT are able to use the Spanish version of the training materials. Organizations can use PFSA's curriculum to train their own staff by contracting with PFSA through the Train-the-Trainer program.

To learn more, schedule a training, or make a donation, readers may visit www.pa-fsa.org or call 800-448-4906. To report suspected child abuse, individuals should call ChildLine at 800-932-0313.

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CASA Seeks Volunteers September 28, 2017

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Lancaster County is seeking both male and female volunteers. Volunteers are specially trained individuals whom the court appoints to protect the best interest of the children involved in cases.

Typical duties of a CASA include conducting independent investigations, providing written reports documenting findings and recommendations, appearing at hearings to advocate for the child's best interests, explaining court proceedings to the child, making recommendations for appropriate services, and advocating for necessary services.

Interested individuals are invited to attend an information session. Sessions will take place on the following Tuesdays: Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. at Passenger Coffee, 7 W. King St., Lancaster; Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. at CASA, 53 N. Duke St., Suite 218, Lancaster; and Dec. 19 at noon at Garden Spot Village, 433 S. Kinzer Ave., New Holland.

For more information, readers may contact CASA at 717-208-3280 or casa@casalancaster.org.

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Foundation Announces LGMD Awareness Day, Fundraising Events September 22, 2017

The CureLGMD2i Foundation, formerly the Samantha J. Brazzo Foundation, is a local organization that is having a worldwide impact.

"Since changing our name, we have received many more donations from people around the world," said Kelly Brazzo. "It's a global disease."

LGMD2i is a type of Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD) that is progressive and causes weakness and muscle wasting mainly in the hip and shoulder areas. Eventually, individuals with LGMD2i can experience cardiovascular, respiratory, and overall physical complications that typically become significant in adolescence. Kelly and her husband, Keith Brazzo, who live in East Hempfield Township, formed the foundation in 2011 after their daughter Samantha, now age 9, was diagnosed with the disease. The foundation has awarded nearly $330,000 to fund research directly related to LGMD2i.

"We are hopeful that with the groundbreaking work being done with gene therapy, drug screenings, and clinical trials, a successful treatment will halt the progression of LGMD2i," Kelly said.

The Brazzos reported some progress in the last year regarding research. The CureLGMD2i Foundation has taken on a volunteer medical director who not only specializes in orthopedics but who also has a young son with LGMD2i. A $10,000 grant was awarded to Washington State University, which is testing an FDA-approved medication for an off-label usage. Also, Samantha's neurologist at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore has partnered with a pharmaceutical company to run a drug trial to treat symptoms of LGMD2i that so far has not produced any side effects. The Brazzos are especially excited about work being done with a new technique called CRISPR, a gene editing process that showed positive results on a mouse with LGMD2i.

"The plan is to do CRISPR and gene therapy on mice, and if it's successful, it would then be offered to adults (with LGMD2i)," Kelly explained. "It's our next big funding push, and we are waiting for two big grant proposals (to be finalized)."

Kelly serves on the board of LGMD-Info.org, which is the information hub for LGMD. The organization has set Saturday, Sept. 30, as the global LGMD Awareness Day. The Brazzos have secured a proclamation regarding the day from Gov. Tom Wolf, and they will participate in a Muscular Dystrophy Association walk in Hershey on Sept. 30.

"The biggest thing is raising awareness," Kelly said. "The more people are diagnosed, the more can register to participate in trials to find treatments."

To fund those trials and other research, the CureLGMD2i Foundation hosts an annual game night. This year's event will be held from 6 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, at Eden Resort & Suites, 222 Eden Road, Lancaster. Tickets are required for the event and are inclusive of a variety of food and beverages, as well as the opportunity to win lots of prizes. There will also be live and silent auctions, with vacation home getaways and tickets to Steelers and Sixers games listed as just a few of the things that will be up for bids. Samantha's 12-year-old sister, Marina, will speak at the event, and several people with LGMD2i will attend.

Limited tickets are available, so folks should not delay in registering by following the link at www.curelgmd2i.com/events. Prize donations and volunteers to staff the game night are welcome, and interested individuals may contact Kelly at kbrazzo@yahoo.com or call 717-405-7518.

Additionally, a golf outing has been organized by a friend of the family to take place at 9 a.m. on Oct. 28 at Crossgates Golf Club, 1 Crossland Pass, Millersville. Folks who would like to participate may follow the link at the CureLGMD2i Events page listed previously.

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Kickin' Cancer 5K To Benefit ACS September 21, 2017

The second annual Kickin' Cancer 5K and 1-mile walk hosted by Relay For Life of Lancaster to benefit the American Cancer Society (ACS) will be held on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 9:30 a.m. at Lancaster County Central Park, 1050 Rockford Road, Lancaster.

West Hempfield Township resident Sue McCune entered last year's race and emerged the overall female champion. She plans to run again this year.

"I'm looking forward to defending my title," McCune remarked. "I would love someone to knock me off (the podium) if (the race) is very well attended."

McCune enjoys running, but she has another reason for participating in the race.

"In 2005, my dad (Thomas Posipanko) died of leukemia, and my sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer," McCune explained. As a result, the family formed the Amazing Racers Relay For Life team, so named for the television show loved by McCune's sister, Laurie Salimbeni of Mount Joy. The team has participated in the Relay For Life of Lancaster since 2006, and the group also enjoys the pet-friendly Bark For Life event.

"I Relay so (the ACS) can get more money for research," McCune said, adding that she wants to see more research into ovarian cancer. "There's cancer in everybody's family nowadays."

McCune described the course as being in the easy to medium range of difficulty. There are some flat parts, and a gravel road offers a bit of a challenge. The scenery was pretty, McCune noted, and she especially enjoyed the trip through the Garden of the Five Senses. Pets are welcome on the course, but McCune advised that strollers would be better suited to the 1-mile walk course.

Medals representing the 47 Nobel Prize winners funded by the ACS will be given to the first 47 finishers. Prizes will also be awarded to the first three overall male and female finishers, as well as to the top two male and female finishers in the age group categories.

There is a cost to participate in the Kickin' Cancer 5K, with a lesser fee for the 1-mile walk. The proceeds will be used by the ACS to fund research into treatment and prevention of cancer, education efforts, free information and services for cancer patients, and advocacy through the ACS Cancer Action Network.

To register for the event, readers may visit www.eventbrite.com and search for Kickin' Cancer 5K in Lancaster. For more information, folks may contact ACS senior community development manager Stephanie Delp at 717-397-3745 or stephanie.delp@cancer.org.

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Trees For Free Campaign Posted September 13, 2017

Everyone who joins the Arbor Day Foundation in September will receive 10 free trees as part of the Foundation's Trees for America program. Through Trees for America, everyone is encouraged to plant trees, which benefit the environment and improve quality of life. The Arbor Day Foundation is dedicated to planting trees, and the organization has nearly 1 million members and supporters.

Everyone who joins in September will receive one of the following tree packages based on their location: 10 Arizona cypresses, 10 live oaks or a mix of 10 trees, including the Eastern redbud, white pine, sugar maple, white flowering dogwood, pin oak, red maple, river birch, silver maple, northern red oak, and Colorado blue spruce.

The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting between Sunday, Oct. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 10. The 6- to 12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow, and if they do not, they will be replaced free of charge. Easy-to-follow planting instructions will be enclosed with each shipment of trees.

New members of the Arbor Day Foundation will also receive "The Tree Book," which includes information about tree planting and care.

To receive the 10 free trees, membership contributions must be sent by Saturday, Sept. 30. Readers may join or obtain more information at www.arborday.org/september.

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Heroes Gala Will Support Child Advocacy Program September 7, 2017

"I've yet to see a child who's asked to be in these circumstances," asserted Karen Blevins, CASA of Lancaster County's Volunteer of the Year. "There's not a kid out there who's not worth trying to save."

Blevins, who lives in the Hempfield School District, has been actively supporting abused and neglected children in Lancaster County's foster care system as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for the past two years. She currently intercedes for four children and teenagers, and she has served as a CASA for two additional young people. It is unusual for a CASA to work with more than one child or sibling group at a time, but Blevins is determined to do her part to ensure that children receive the support they need.

"I had one (child) who told me he didn't know what it was like to have someone stand up for him," Blevins said. "It just tore me up. I went out to my car and bawled."

As the name implies, CASAs like Blevins are trained volunteers who are appointed by a judge to get to know a specific child or sibling group in foster care and fight for and protect their right to be safe, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to learn and grow in the security of a loving family. There are approximately 550 youths in foster care in Lancaster County, and CASAs are currently advocating for 228. An additional 15 cases have been referred by a judge and are waiting for a CASA.

"There's such a great need," Blevins said.

"I understand the role of an advocate sounds daunting, but you don't need to have a specific background or education," commented CASA of Lancaster County executive director Jessica Laspino.

"You just need to have a heart for kids," Blevins added.

There is an application process. Once accepted, volunteers attend twice-weekly training sessions for four weeks. Upon successfully completing the training, the volunteers are sworn in as advocates by a judge. Blevins noted that she felt well-prepared for her first appointment, and support from the CASA volunteer managers and other staff members is always available. The training is provided free of charge, and while there is a cost for one of the required background checks, CASA of Lancaster County ensures that socioeconomic status does not hinder individuals from completing that step.

In order to fund program operations, recruit and train advocates, and provide staff support, CASA of Lancaster County will hold its Heroes Gala and benefit auction on Friday, Sept. 22, at 6 p.m. at the Lancaster County Convention Center, 25 S. Queen St., Lancaster. The evening will feature hearty hors d'oeuvres, including carving stations and butlered bites. A variety of beverages will be available. While there will not be a formal sit-down dinner, there will be a seat for everyone, Laspino noted. The event will include music by DJ Mast, live and silent auctions, and the recognition of Blevins as Volunteer of the Year. A business will also be recognized for its support of the program.

"I was blown away (to be named Volunteer of the Year)," Blevins commented. "I totally didn't expect anything like that. I'm humbled and honored."

Among Blevins' guests for the event will be a young man for whom she once served as a CASA. He has appeared with Blevins in promotional materials for the program.

Tickets for the Heroes Gala may be purchased by calling the CASA office at 717-208-3280 by Monday, Sept. 18. Readers may visit www.casalancaster.org to learn more about volunteering and to view the details of several vacation packages that will be auctioned at the Heroes Gala.

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YWCA Seeks Advocates September 6, 2017

YWCA Lancaster's Sexual Assault Prevention and Counseling Center seeks community members who are interested in learning more about sexual violence and supporting victim and survivors of sexual abuse to serve as advocates on the 24-hour sexual assault hotline.

A 40-hour training will be held for potential advocates from September through October.

Classroom instruction of 20 hours will be held at YWCA Lancaster, 110 N. Lime St., Lancaster. Online training modules of 20 hours will be completed at the participant's leisure. Days and times for in-person classes will vary in order to accommodate the participant schedules.

There is a fee for the training. However, the cost will be refunded upon completion of 60 hours on the hotline. Pre-screening interviews will be arranged prior to class participation. For more information or to schedule an interview, readers may contact Mandy Kastner at 717-393-1735, ext. 254, or akastner@ywcalancaster.org.

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Veterans Presented With Quilt September 6, 2017

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Walk-Pull For LIFE Planned September 6, 2017

Pregnancy Resources at Cornerstone will hold its annual Walk-Pull for LIFE event on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Salisbury Township Park (Gap Park), 750 White Horse Road, Gap. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. for the walk and 9:30 a.m. for the tug-of-war/pull competition. In addition to the walk and pull competitions, the event will feature inflatable games for all ages and an on-site chicken barbecue. Preorders for the barbecue are highly recommended but are not required.

A grand prize will be awarded to the individual who raises the most sponsored funds to walk or to pull, and the winning pull team will receive a large trophy to display for one year at the team's place of business, church or organization. Cornerstone's fundraising goal for the event is $30,000.

Cornerstone is a limited obstetrics medical clinic primarily serving individuals experiencing unplanned pregnancies. The organization's main office and clinic is located in Gap. Currently, there are three satellite locations that offer services in southern and central Lancaster County and southern Chester County.

For more information, to register, or to preorder barbecue tickets, readers may visit http://2017-walk-pull-for-life.everydayhero.do, contact Michelle at mic@pregnancyresources.org, call 717-442-8694 or visit www.pregnancyresources.org.

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DEAC Plans Meeting August 30, 2017

The Derry Environmental Action Committee (DEAC) will meet on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 3 p.m. in the Hershey Room at the Hershey Public Library, 701 Cocoa Ave., Hershey. All residents interested in environmental issues are welcome to attend.

For more information, readers may visit www.derryeac.wordpress.com.

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