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Kellie Pickler show to aid PATH to the Cure

Jul. 31, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Country music singer Kellie Pickler will perform Sunday, Sept. 29, at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena with all of the profits from the event going to PATH to the Cure.

The benefit concert will follow the third annual PATH to the Cure 5K Run/Walk, which will begin at 2 p.m. Sept. 29 in downtown Huntington and end at the arena, organizers said Tuesday during a news conference.

All PATH to the Cure runners and walkers will get free admission to the concert, which is tentatively scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. Tickets will be $27 for those not participating in the run/walk and will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2, at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

Path to the Cure started in 2011 as a way to raise awareness and money for the fight against breast cancer in the Tri-State. Eighty percent of the proceeds from the run/walk pays for mammograms at the St. Mary's Breast Center for women and men who are uninsured or under-insured. The remaining 20 percent goes toward the Paul Ambrose Trail for Health.

Julie Neal, one of the founders of Path to the Cure, said the idea for the local fundraiser was born when she and a few friends signed up for a 60-mile walk for breast cancer awareness in 2008 in Washington, D.C.

"When we did that walk, I kept telling my friends, 'Something like this would be great in Huntington,'" Neal said. In 2010, Neal and her friends approached St. Mary's Medical Center about helping put on a 5K run and walk to benefit breast cancer awareness and PATH. More than 1,600 people participated in last year's Path to the Cure 5K.

"It's really not about the numbers or the run," Neal said. "It's about coming together as a community and experiencing the sense that you're helping others.

"Taking it to this level is really big. It shows that we take care of our own."

Anne Hammack, clinical manager of the St. Mary's Breast Center, said PATH to the Cure has greatly enhanced the center's ability to financially assist women and even men who need a mammogram but have no insurance or are under-insured.

"Our Pink Ribbon Fund has received so much money from Path to the Cure that we're not just paying for screening mammograms," Hammack said. "We're also funding diagnostic mammograms for a patient who might have a lump or other problem."

All of the proceeds from the benefit concert after expenses will go toward PATH to the Cure, said Brian Sipe, general manager of the Big Sandy Superstore Arena. The arena is teaming up with Clear Channel Communications to put on the concert. The arena secured the date with Pickler, while Clear Channel is seeking sponsors in hopes that the sponsorship money will pay for expenses -- including Pickler's fee -- so more money can go to Path to the Cure, Sipe said. Thus far, Big Sandy Superstores and City National Bank have signed on as sponsors, he said.

Pickler gained stardom after finishing in sixth place during the fifth season of "American Idol." She has since released three albums, including hits such as "Red High Heels" and "I Wonder." Most recently, the 26-year-old singer won season 16 of the ABC reality dance competition, "Dancing With the Stars!"

Pickler also made headlines last year when she shaved her head to support a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Follow H-D reporter Bryan Chambers on Facebook or Twitter @BryanChambersHD.

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