Coastal Star: Delray businesswoman is all heart when it comes to Bethesda Hospital

Stylist and salon owner Dawn Edwards is on the committee working on the 64th annual Bethesda Ball, which will be Feb. 23. Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

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By April W. Klimley

Dawn Edwards relishes challenges. Last summer, the beauty expert and businesswoman was asked to join the Bethesda Hospital Foundation Board. Next came a request to work on the hospital’s biggest fundraiser: the 64th Bethesda Ball, coming Feb. 23.

And she answered, “Yes!”

“Honestly, I have a heart for the hospital. It’s an important part of the community of Delray and the towns nearby,” Edwards said. “I live here. I have a beauty salon here. My clients come in and they talk about the hospital. Many of them are benefactors.”

Bethesda Hospital was founded more than 60 years ago by residents in and around Boynton Beach. It opened in 1959 with 70 beds.

In 2017, the hospital merged with Baptist Health South Florida. Today, it continues its not-for-profit mission with more than 2,500 employees and 675 physicians at two main campuses, Bethesda Hospital East and Bethesda Hospital West.

Last year, the ball raised $670,000  for Bethesda Women’s Health Center to purchase a state-of-the-art 3-D mammography unit with breast biopsy capabilities. Money raised this year will go to the medical center’s  heart hospital — which means all the comprehensive cardiology services of the hospital.

Commenting on the “Rock the Foundation” theme for this year, Edwards said, “This year it’s all about music. Our guests love to dance.”

Edwards’ tasks range from finding vendors to troubleshooting.

   The work for this event seems to be even more intense than Edwards’ earlier involvement with hospital fundraising. For five years she served on the hospital’s Women of Grace committee, which honors five local woman philanthropists each year. Last year’s event raised more than $200,000.

Edwards’ charity work began around the time her daughter Gianna — now a 16-year-old junior at Boca Raton High School — started school at St. Vincent Ferrer.

“My involvement blossomed from there. I love charity work, and whatever you can do to help the community. I’m sure everyone would do something like that if they could,” she said.

Edwards, 52, has another passion — beauty salons. She began with Fantasia in Coral Springs (funded by her dad, Frank Morales, when she was 20), opened Elite Salon on “the Avenue” 19 years ago (when she and her husband, pilot Larry Edwards, moved to Delray Beach), and started her third salon, Dawn Edwards, a few years ago in east Delray.

Edwards also developed her own hair-care and makeup lines and became active as a color educator.

Edwards found her calling in her last year of high school, when she took an extra credit course in the beauty field.

“I developed a passion for the beauty industry,” she said. “I am an artist and I actually wanted to be a sculptor. But now I am a sculptor — a sculptor of hair every day.”

The Dawn Edwards location is much quieter and more compact than the downtown location, but its customized interior radiates relaxation and tranquility.

“It’s a boutique salon,” Edwards said. “This one’s for me. I wasn’t going to do it again [after a five-year break]. But I love it too much not to have my hands in it. I get to play with color all day.

“You know the saying ‘Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ That’s been my career.” 

If You Go

What: The 64th annual Bethesda Ball, “Rock the Foundation.” Proceeds benefit Bethesda’s department of cardiology

When: 6:30 p.m. Feb. 23

Where: Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, 100 S. Ocean Boulevard, Manalapan

Tickets: $375 per person; evening attire, black tie suggested

Info: or 737-7733, ext. 84445

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