Since this May 19, 2012 will be the 20th Annual Komen Columbus Race for the Cure, for the 20 weeks leading up to the event we are going to spotlight 20 individuals who have participated in the Race throughout the years. They come from all walks of life and may be survivors, volunteers, grantees, sponsors or advocates, but they’re all committed to the fight against breast cancer.
Week 18: The Couple that Encourages Philanthropy
Guest Post by: Rebecca Hudson
Being recognized as a premier, first-class organization with one of the strongest brands both in Central Ohio and the nation may be enough for many business leaders, but not for Debra and Charles Penzone.
Owners of The Charles Penzone Salons, the couple believes that true success comes from giving back to the community. As a matter of fact, when asked in a recent interview what she was most proud of in her 25-year career with Charles Penzone, she remarked, “First and foremost, our philanthropy. My husband Chuck and I, with our team of professionals, stand together in living life with a purpose.”Since 1999, the Komen Columbus Race for the Cure has been one of their strongest demonstrations of giving back and saying “thank you” to all of their supporters.
“We were drawn to the Race because we want to do what we can to make a difference and join in the dream of ending breast cancer for generations to follow,” said Debra, president of The Charles Penzone Salons.
“Personally and professionally, we saw that the talented hands and caring hearts of our team would be perfect to aide women going through the difficult beauty side effects of skin care issues and hair loss during cancer treatment.”
In 2002, The Charles Penzone Salons became a Race sponsor and since then have contributed more than $100,000 to the Affiliate. However, true to what Debra refers to as The Charles Penzone “culture of caring,” providing a monetary difference is not enough. Hands-on support is just as important.
On Race day, Charles Penzone team members help staff the SurvivorPalooza tent. There they give mini-massages and manicures, distribute gift bags (more than 2,200 each year) and provide various other special treatments to help women who, as Debra points out, “truly deserve it.”
The Penzones and their team will again be in the SurvivorPalooza tent this year to provide that special pampering and be “inspired” by stories from survivors and their families.“Our purpose in being involved is simple – we want these brave women to feel beautiful inside and out.”
When asked whether one Race is more memorable than others, she recalls the 2010 Race when their entire salon team created an in-salon event called “Project Pink” for Heather and Stefanie’s team.
“The professionals worked so hard creating these amazing styles for the pink wigs and all of the proceeds were donated to the Race!” Debra adds, “Our team was even styling and cutting wigs at the start line the morning of the race. I even had the chance to get hands-on and cut wigs!”
The 2010 Race for the Cure was also special because Charles (or Chuck as Debra affectionately calls him,) finished his first 5K- while wearing a pink, styled wig.
Debra’s support has additional personal meaning, explaining, “I have seen firsthand the debilitating toll breast cancer can have on the body and spirit of far too many friends, co-workers and guests.”
She adds, “I am so proud to share that my Aunt Kay is a breast cancer survivor who just reached the important milestone of being cancer free for five years.”
When asked for her words of encouragement for survivors, Debra says with strong conviction “You are our sisters, mothers, daughters, friends, co-workers and neighbors. We see your pain as you travel this uncharted path. We see your true beauty that shines from the inside out. Together, we can find a cure.”
Survivors, make sure to visit SurvivorPalooza on Race day to receive your little bit of pampering!