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breast cancer awareness

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Fashion while benefitting a great cause – can you think of a better way to spend a Monday night? See how a local salon is taking the fight against breast cancer to the runway.

The runway at last year's Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser, hosted by Valenti Salon
The runway at last year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser, hosted by Valenti Salon

Dealing with sickness or significant loss can be one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. Vanessa Pilger, Marketing Manager at Valenti Salon, knows this first-hand.

“I lost my dad to chronic lung disease two days before Christmas back in 2011 and I was only 29 years old,” says Pilger. “He was my cheerleader in life and always told me I could do anything I put my mind to. Watching his health get worse and knowing there was nothing I could do to fix it was a heartbreaking experience.”

Having worked for Valenti Salon & Spa for 12 years, Pilger has found more than just a place to work, but a family as well. “The owners of Valenti, Vince and Anna Fischer, lost their mom years ago to breast cancer. Having lost a parent certainly puts that experience into a new perspective,” she says. “I had this idea to raise money for such an important cause while also honoring those directly affected by it.”

Today, Pilger’s idea has now become a reality. “It’s something that I hold very close and dear to my heart,” she says. “To be able to raise money and find a cure for a disease that takes so many ‘parents’ away from their children is something I can smile about. Working in a business with primarily women, we have seen so many clients directly affected by breast cancer.”

Thus far, Valenti Salon has been able to raise $11,000 and Pilger hopes to keep that number growing. “We honored over 100 survivors last year – and giving them a night to remember while showing off the skills of our talented stylists is what the night is really all about,” she says. “My personal goals for the event are to continue raising more and more money for these two, GREAT foundations, and to grow the audience of survivors we honor.”

This year’s event will be held on Monday October 19th at 7:00 p.m. at the Newport Syndicate. “It has a theme every year and this year its “The World of Beauty” showcasing what beauty looks like in different cities around the world,” says Pilger. “Proceeds will benefit The Karen Wellington Foundation and American Cancer Society Making Strides.”

“By adding The Karen Wellington Foundation to the fundraiser last year and getting to meet her family and friends, it made everything that much more special,” Pilger continues. “I have also visited and participated in some of the local programs that the Making Strides campaign offers, and seeing how much better these women feel after receiving their free wig as well as all of the research that is being done here locally keeps it here in Cincinnati.”

The event is just for a few hours and includes a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, silent auction, split the pot, Survivor Tribute with slideshow and a song written just for them (available on iTunes), and the hair and fashion show. Tickets are $25 pre-sale and $35 at the door, or you can reserve a table of 10 for $250, which gets preferred seating near the stage.

“My favorite part about the evening is by far the Survivor Tribute,” says Pilger. Some of them have been survivors for many years and some are currently undergoing treatment – so honoring them to remind them how strong they truly are is always touching. We seat the survivors together (if they wish) and it’s neat to see the relationships that form, and hopefully, further support for the future.”

If you’re a survivor or you want to honor someone else that is a survivor or someone you have lost, contact Pilger directly at with the persons name and photograph. “We want to honor as many survivors as possible – and they receive a free ticket of course – so it’s open to the public,” she says.

For tickets to this year’s fundraiser, call or stop into Valenti Salon. Pilger says there will be an online ticket version up and running within the next few days, and to stay tuned to their Facebook page for the link.