A Penney for Your Thoughts (and Prayers!)

By Donna LaBelle

At CWI we continually strive to bring in funds for people just like Penney. It is because of the power of “us” that Penney was able to go forward with the necessary steps to get her third surgery and treatments scheduled. Her skin cancer is so aggressive that time is of the essence.


As board members of CWI, we each have been profoundly impacted by cancer. In fact, that is how we met and formed our strong friendships that eventually lead to serving on a non-profit together. We each shared in our battles of cancer, and that created a bond of love between us much the same as when soldiers survive war together. Someday we will share more details of our own stories, but today we write about a woman named Penney, who is both grateful for CWI and very passionate about sharing her story in order to help save others from having to go through what she did.

Penney has shared her story on social media because “I just thought I should.... if I can get through to even one person, to avoid this, it would be something I could do to make something good out of this.”

Penney's battle has been with skin cancer, diagnosis: squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma. She had two surgeries including a skin graft down to the bone. She needed a third surgery, but money was standing in the way. After Penney had made phone calls for four months to other organizations with no help in sight, CWI was able to step up and help.

How did Penney find herself here? She believes the cancers were mainly a result of a severe burn she received when she was about 18 years old. She was hospitalized for six days with severe sunburn and heatstroke. Penney had “spots” that she did not know were cancer and went unattended for years. She would be the first to tell you that regular checkups with a dermatologist are a good idea! She believes she would not be in “this mess” had she known earlier that these spots were cancer.

Penney sincerely hopes that others will learn from her life-impacting health storm, and that her story will inspire them to work hard to prevent anything like this from happening to them. She hopes people will avoid the UV rays and unsafe tanning practices. “I pray: people need to understand this is no joke, especially people my age who grew up being little sun goddesses, plus family history is a factor…no one is invincible!”

CWI working together with Penney was a natural fit, and reviewing our mission statement illustrates this fact.

CWI is committed

  • To empower those with cancer by expanding treatment options oftentimes limited by insurance coverage.

  • To relieve financial burdens so healing may be the main focus

  • To harness the power of many to help those who feel powerless and alone.

CWI understands

  • Cancer has dollar signs attached to it. Money is the bottom line.

  • Many treatments and therapies are not covered under health insurance.

  • It is a tragedy when proven therapies cannot even be considered due to these limitations.

Please do your own research on how to avoid skin cancer. Become informed on the subject and help others prevent these types of cancers.

CWI thanks every donor for their continued support in helping others!