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Cristina Talotta (left) poses with her mother (right) during Pittsburgh Crawl for Cancer.

In 2008,  RE/MAX Select Realty’s Cristina Talotta participated in a fundraising event that changed her life. As the daughter of two cancer survivors, Talotta placed heavy emphasis on supporting cancer research, thus when Pittsburgh hosted its first Crawl for Cancer, the real estate veteran joined in the effort. A year later, she took charge and never looked back. On Saturday, Sept. 17, Talotta will be spearheading the ninth annual Pittsburgh Crawl for Cancer from 1-7 p.m. in the North Shore — her eight consecutive stint as the event chair.

“It’s part of a national organization,” Talotta said. “There are crawls in 30 cities throughout the county, and I plan Pittsburgh’s.

“I think everybody has some relationship to cancer, some tie to it. Both of my parents had cancer; my mom has had cancer three times. If you don’t know somebody [that’s been affected by cancer], then you’re in the minority. ”

Approximately 650 people plan to participate in the five-bar excursion, which includes stops at Tilted Kilt, Bar Louie, Mullen’s, and Local Brewhouse. Each group receives four pitchers of beer at each bar, and those who bring at least 10 canned goods receive $10 or more in Uber credits or taxi vouchers. At the final bar, McFadden’s Saloon, the band Walk of Shame will perform as Talotta hosts a charity raffle  sponsored by several companies — including RE/MAX Select Realty — to increase overall donations, which have surpassed over $40,000 in just 9 years. This year, proceeds will be distributed to Cancer Caring Center in Bloomfield, and, for the first time, Glimmer of Hope in Wexford.

Following the death of her close friend last October, Talotta’s sister-in-law, Hayley Talotta, started volunteering at Glimmer of Hope. She explained that Crawl for Cancer “really took off” once Cristina “grabbed a hold of it,” and that proceeds from the event stands to positively impact a multitude of women suffering from breast cancer.

“It’s amazing what she’s doing,” Hayley Talotta said. “Instead of just talking about it, she goes out and does it. She invests her heart and soul into Crawl for Cancer, and it should be an inspiration to other people. The proceeds from Crawl to Cancer will go toward investing in different equipment and activities at Glimmer of Hope. Cristina is making such a difference.”

fullsizerender_1Cristina donated her time to several other cancer-related benefits over the years. Furthermore, she conducts an annual holiday toy drive. This past year, she received a Jefferson Award for her philanthropic work throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area. As for why she continues to maintain her position with Crawl for Cancer, even as a busy Realtor®, Talotta discussed that it’s the people and their stories that keep her coming back.

“I feel like everybody has a story,” Talotta said. “Something we started doing is the ‘In Memory of” and the “In Celebration of” signs that people put on the backs of their shirts. Once people get a couple of drinks in them, they start to open up a bit more and add names to those signs. You see how many people have been affected by it.”

All of the teams filled the open slots in early July, but there is still plenty of opportunity to be a part of this year’s Crawl for Cancer. Anyone interested in participating can join the teams and organization committee at McFadden’s at 6 p.m. for the after party. Talotta encourages attendance, even from the busiest of people, such as herself.

“Overall, especially in my field, you don’t ever get time to set aside for people,” Talotta said. “People come from other states and parts of Pennsylvania, and it doesn’t matter which generation you’re part of. My parents do it every year; their friends come from out of town to be a part of it. It’s just something to look forward to.”

For more information, visit CrawlforCancer.org.