Local teen creates program to help breast cancer patients

Local teen creates program to help breast cancer patients

A local teen has created a program to help Allegheny Health Network breast cancer patients recovering from mastectomies.

Shelby Petonak, 17, a senior at Pine Richland High School, created the Pillows for Patients program.

She was inspired by her mom, Wendy Petonak, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 and is currently a patient of the AHN Cancer Institute.

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After Wendy Petonak underwent surgery, she found that the Axillapilla pillow really helped her relieve pressure and relax without pain.

When Shelby Petonak saw how much the pillow helped her mom, she wanted to provide the same pillows to all of the mastectomy patients to help them 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 Petonak said.

Before she formally introduces the Pillows for Patients program Wednesday night, Shelby Petonak launched a social media campaign with the AHN Office of Development, raising over $3,000.

On Friday, she will be raising money during the Pine-Richland and North Allegheny football game. There will be collection jars to help her reach her goal of $10,000.

If you would like to donate to Pillows for Patients, click here.