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Pine-Richland Teen Starts "Pillows for Patients" to Benefit AHN Breast Cancer Patients

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Local Teen Creates Pillows for Patients Program to Help AHN Breast Cancer Patients in Their Recovery from Mastectomies

PITTSBURGH, PA -- Pine-Richland High School senior Shelby Petonak, 17, has created the Pillows for Patients program, which provides comfortable pillows for Allegheny Health Network (AHN) breast cancer patients as they recover from surgery. Shelby was inspired by her mom, Wendy Petonak, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 and is a patient of AHN Cancer Institute.

After Mrs. Petonak underwent a mastectomy, she found the AxillaPilla, made by Masthead, was the most useful tool to help her relieve pressure and relax without pain. The AxillaPilla supports the underarm and other sensitive areas post-surgery. After seeing how the pillow helped her mother recover from surgery, Shelby wanted to provide AxillaPillas to all AHN mastectomy patients to help aid in their recovery.

“Recovery from breast cancer can be uncomfortable. And the AxillaPilla makes recovery from a mastectomy more comfortable. I saw how they helped my mom and I wanted to help other women be more comfortable after a mastectomy. I want every woman to be able to leave the hospital after breast cancer surgery with a pillow,” Shelby said. 

Before officially introducing the program at tonight’s AHN “Roar for the Cure” community survivorship event, Shelby launched a social media campaign with the AHN Office of Development that raised over $3,000. In addition, on October 25, Shelby will be fundraising during the Pine-Richland and North Allegheny football game. Shelby worked with school officials to allow players to wear pink socks and cheerleaders to accessorize with pink to support the cause. She will have collection jars at the concession stands to help reach her goal of $10,000.

“As a breast cancer survivor and a mother, I’m so proud of Shelby. Breast cancer affects a woman’s entire family. Out of this difficult situation, Shelby created this initiative that will help so many other breast cancer patients in their recovery,” said Mrs. Petonak.

“We are grateful to Shelby for her efforts and for being such a wonderful partner. And we are excited to continue to support our cancer patients at AHN through the Pillows for Patients program”, said Allie Quick, AHN Chief Philanthropy Officer.

To donate to Pillows for Patients, visit https://give.everydayhero.com/us/pillows-for-patients.