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Finding peace: Pittsburgh-area organization helps women fighting cancer

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

Bonny Diver knows the journey women take after they hear the words, “You have cancer.”

When the radio traffic reporter isn't offering detours for Route 28 drivers or talking about PennDOT closures, Diver — a cancer survivor herself — said she spends her time talking with cancer survivors and fundraising for her Hair Peace Charities organization, which raises money to, among other resources, help women buy wigs while undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

That organization — founded by Diver in 2005 — has expanded its mission and resources over the years thanks to donations, Diver said.

Donations are used to help fund wigs for women who might be having financial difficulties, Diver said.

Nearly 300 women in an 11-county region will be helped this year, Diver said.

After talking with Diver, women receive a voucher to use at a specific salon, where a stylist will help assist them with wig selection and style.

Among the list of Hair Peace-approved salons is Sean's Signature Salon in Sewickley, Diver said.

Including Sean's, nine salons are part of Diver's eligible program — ranging from Washington County to Greensburg, Butler County and Shadyside.

To be on Diver's list, approved salons must meet certain criteria, including offering a private location in the salon for wig preparation, placement and consultation, she said.

Losing hair is a tough part of the cancer journey, Diver said.

“It's cancer's way of taking one more thing away from you,” Diver said.

“Women will say, ‘Even if I don't feel sick, it's still staring back at me.'

In addition to the wig program, Hair Peace offers monthly support group meetings and other events for survivors.

But, Diver said, those programs require funding.

To help offset costs, Diver hosts the annual Recipe for Hope event, which is planned for Feb. 23 at the Mayernik Center on Camp Horne Road in Ohio Township.

The signature fundraising event — which includes recipes from newspaper, radio and television reporters and other personalities — brought in $24,000 for Hair Peace's efforts, Diver said.

Confirmed guests for the 2013 event include WPXI-TV's Cara Sapida, some of the CBS Radio Pittsburgh deejays (WBZZ-FM, KDKA-AM, KDKA-FM, WDSY-FM), other Pittsburgh television station anchors and reporters and other area media personalities, Diver said.

All of the money stays in the local area, and little is spent on overhead expenses as the organization doesn't have an office “because I do it out of my dining room,” she said.

“I never dreamed I'd have cancer,” said Diver, who first discovered a lump after falling off her horse, which she keeps in the Sewickley area. “But I never dreamed I'd start a nonprofit. You never know what impact you can make.”

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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