Volunteer: Dawn Panfil

2018 Health Care Heroes Award Winners

Volunteer

Dawn Panfil

Owner

Hair & Body Solutions Salon and Spa

Dawn Panfil, a 10-year breast cancer survivor, understands all too well the many ways a breast cancer diagnosis can impact one’s life.

Panfil, the owner of Hair & Body Solutions Salon and Spa in New Berlin, underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments to battle cancer. In the midst of her treatment, she lost her hair – a piece of her identity.

“Losing your hair can feel as devastating as a cancer diagnosis for some,” Panfil said.

As Panfil recovered, she felt compelled to serve others experiencing similar challenges. With help from Dr. Julie Keppel and the Comprehensive Breast Care team at Aurora West Allis Women’s Pavilion, Panfil launched Pink Possible, a fundraising campaign in which her salon sold pink hair extensions to raise breast cancer awareness.

The initial campaign took place in 2008 and as of 2017, 36 salons from Green Bay to Burlington participated annually and the campaign had collectively raised more than $520,000 to support local Aurora-led breast cancer programs.

Panfil had experienced firsthand the toll cancer can take on one’s body, so one of the programs Pink Possible proceeds supports is Living Well Beyond Cancer – a program she helped create. The 16-week women’s cancer survivorship program offers education, exercise, dietary support and camaraderie to help improve overall health and reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. So far, 188 cancer survivors have taken part in the program.

When asked what inspires her to keep supporting Pink Possible, Panfil’s response was, “I’ve always believed in supporting the community that supports us.”

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