RL_02As a 40-year-old mother-of-three myself, I can’t even imagine the strength and courage Donna must need to draw on each and every day to remain positive. “Don’t get me wrong, I have my bad days,” she says. “It’s the first thing I think of when I wake in the morning and the last thing I think of before I close my eyes at night.”

“I don’t take anything for granted and I live each day to the fullest.”
But there is a silver lining to this story and it’s in the form of a lifelong dream to own and run a hair salon with her two best friends of 16 years, Donna Jankiwskyj and Rellie Dooley, both of whom have been an amazing support team to Donna since her diagnosis – even getting matching tattoos to cement their amazing bond. Five months ago, the plucky trio jumped at the opportunity to buy a hairdressing salon in Mountain Creek, which they have since renamed Relish and they are loving every minute of it. “We were having a coffee one day when we heard the Mountain Creek salon was going into liquidation and we looked at each other and said ‘let’s do it’. Two days later we were in the salon,” says Donna. “I know people often say don’t mix friends and work but we have managed really well. We are not hairdressers but we have a team of highly qualified hairdressers and nail technicians. It’s wonderful because it offers us flexible hours to spend time with our families.” Fortunately, Donna’s super fund recently paid out her terminal illness insurance, allowing her to pay off a sizeable portion of her mortgage and invest in the business, taking pressure off her family’s finances and allowing her to spend her days doing what she loves. “I really want this salon to be successful,” says Donna. “A portion is going straight into a trust fund for my two boys, it’s my way of leaving something for them.” Donna Penny is not the only one of the trio affected by the insidious disease. Mother-of-two Donna Jankiwskyj’s eyes fill with tears and her voice wavers as she recalls her mother’s recent breast cancer diagnosis. At the time of this interview, the incredibly strong woman is also just days away from donating a kidney to a family member. Talk about an inspiring bunch! I left Relish that day feeling both humbled and inspired by these incredible women who are so positive in the face of adversity. But in true Donna style, the bubbly blonde sums up her attitude perfectly in her parting words. “I don’t want people to feel sorry for me Ingrid, I want people to feel inspired that you can still be positive and have goals and dreams even if you have been handed a death sentence. No one can tell you when you are going to die. I don’t take anything for granted and I live each day to the fullest.”

Relish Hair / Mountain Creek Salon Shop 4, 93 Karawatha Dve, Moutain Creek Relish Hair Mountain Creek Salon – MCS Phone: 5444 7644