For the first time in our magazine’s 17-year history, Capital Region Living is honoring the five people in the local nonprofit and charity orbit that we feel are at the apex of the giving game. (Five others are being honored on the Saratoga Living side to make it an even 10.) There’s no doubt that if there ever was a perfect time to honor the region’s top givers, it would be right now, at the end of this year, when there was so much need.
These five individuals couldn’t be giving at a more crucial moment in time. The pandemic has tried and failed to send them off course; they’ve forged ahead, working longer hours to break new ground and keep their respective organizations afloat.
We’re hoping that, besides reading their wonderful stories within the pages of this magazine, you will feel equally compelled to support them in their causes. A great place to start? At our hybrid virtual-live Capital Region Gives Back event, which takes place on December 10. (To get tickets, click here.)
Who are these five supreme do-gooders? Allow us to introduce you to our 2020 Capital Region Gives Back honorees.
Denise Dubois has had some of her life’s most meaningful moments in the Serenity Room at the American Cancer Society (ACS) of the Capital Region’s HopeClub. The owner of Complexions Spa for Beauty and Wellness, which has locations in Albany and Saratoga Springs, sponsored the room and for seven years held biannual spa days there, where her team of beauty professionals provided complimentary evenings of 5-star pampering for Capital Region cancer patients and survivors. “We would make them feel good,” she says. “We did facials, massages, nails, all in a healthy environment. We would also do wig fitting and stencil on eyebrows,” she says of chemo patients who had lost all of their hair.
But not this year. Because of the pandemic, the HopeClub and its Serenity Room have been forced to go entirely virtual but are still supporting local patients and survivors.
Dubois has been so dedicated to the ACS that she received its Pillar of Hope award in 2014 and was tapped to serve as its Gala of Hope co-chair this year, honoring her dear friend Paul Sciocchetti, before the event was forced to go virtual. It’s cancellations of crucial events and programs like the in-person gala and HopeClub that has Dubois the most worried.
For Dubois, her work at ACS is personal. “So many people very close to me have had cancer,” she says. “My uncle battled lung cancer and lost his life. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and now is fine. One of my closest friends had breast cancer. Even my beloved dog had cancer at only 3 years old. We did everything we could for him–he even had chemo. Cancer really has touched so many of us in so many ways.”