Employee’s Panerathon Efforts Inspire Greenwood Donation

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – Tracy Briden helps people every day at her job at Greenwood Chevrolet in Austintown. As the dealership’s special finance manager, Briden gets to help people with poor credit or hardships get the financing they need so they can get on the road.

Every year for the past 13 years, Briden has also taken her deftness for giving to others to organize the Greenwood Panerathon team. This year, she brought 150 people from Greenwood for the annual event, which benefits the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center.

In Briden’s honor, Greg Greenwood, president of Greenwood Chevrolet, announced Wednesday an additional contribution of $15,000 to Mercy Health for the Joanie Abdu center.

“A couple of months before the Panerathon, it seems like she wakes up from doing things behind the scenes and she steps out in front of the scene, and she says we are going to have a big group this year,” Greenwood said. “So we’re trying to do something special to really recognize your effort.”

Through Panerathon, the community raised $600,000 overall, according to Greenwood, but this $15,000 can be added to the total.

Briden said Greenwood told her he wanted to do something special this year because of all the years the team has participated in the Panerathon. The donation will go directly to the efforts of the Joanie Abdu center and Mercy Health Foundation.

Tracy Briden, Greenwood Chevrolet in Austintown’s special finance manager and organizer of the dealership’s Panerathon team.

“It shows his generosity,” Briden said. “He is absolutely amazing at what he does for the Valley, and to work for him is an honor.”

Not unlike so many in Youngstown, the Greenwood family and many of the employees of the dealership have been touched by cancer. Greenwood said his own grandmother, Mary, the original office manager for the dealership, died from breast cancer after a delayed diagnosis due to difficulty getting access to treatment in the early 1960s.

Greenwood’s wife, Alice, also had a family encounter with cancer. Her mother was diagnosed with and survived breast cancer.

“So our family has been touched by it so many different ways,” Greenwood said, “and we can go through the organization here and see mothers and aunts and sisters who are affected by it. Everybody has a certain amount of pride to live in this town of Youngstown. It’s a beautiful town, and everybody cares about each other.”

But Greenwood said just because someone lives in Youngstown, they should not have to drive to Buffalo, Cleveland or Pittsburgh to get the treatment they need locally.

Earlier detection and treatment are known to make a difference. 

Dr. Rashid Abdu said the center is currently pushing to make sure every woman has a mammogram, working with local churches to gain trust and convince them of the importance of survival with early detection with 3D mammography.

Abdu, who started the Joanie Abdu Center as a promise to his dying wife, spoke Wednesday of the love of the community.

“It’s a beautiful community,” Abdu said. “It’s a generous community, especially when we started raising funds for the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center. I have never seen a community so generous, so kind, so compassionate, absolutely amazing.” 

That same feeling of love of community continues to push those like Briden, who organize teams to participate each year.

“I didn’t really realize what I was getting into until I felt the love here in the Valley and what we can do to make a difference,” Briden said of how she got involved in organizing the dealership’s annual team. “We’ve had some of our family members here at Greenwood be touched with cancer, so it made us even more want to participate.”

She invites employees of the dealership to participate, and they bring friends and family to join the team as well.

“Every year it just grows and grows and grows, and so does our love to give back. And everything stays here in the Valley, and that’s what’s more important – all the lives that we’ve touched and the families that we’ve helped, it’s just so meaningful,” Briden said.

Pictured at top: From left are Alice and Greg Greenwood, Tracy Briden, Gina Marinelli and Dr. Rashid Abdu.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.