Pink hair and present-free

Published 10:08 pm Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mabel Arnold dyed her hair pink recently in honor of her 90th birthday and cancer awareness. She has asked that all of her friends and family give donations to the American Cancer Society, instead of giving her gifts.

Mabel Arnold, a resident of Autumn Care of Suffolk, celebrated her 90th birthday recently by demonstrating an act of kindness for others.

Mabel met with administrator Bill Belmonte, with an idea. She explained that she would soon be celebrating her 90th birthday, and she was going to dye her hair pink in recognition of cancer awareness.

She said she felt blessed that the Lord had kept her cancer free for 90 years and that her 10 children and her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren also are cancer-free. She felt the need to do something for the American Cancer Society, she said.

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She asked that family and friends make donations to the American Cancer Society in lieu of getting presents for her. Belmonte placed a call to the organization to explain her wishes.

Tonya McKinney, manager of Hampton Roads Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, visited Arnold at Autumn Care of Suffolk on June 6 for her birthday. In appreciation of Arnold’s thoughtfulness, McKinney brought an arrangement of flowers, a birthday card signed by all the employees in the Hampton Roads office of the American Cancer Society and a very special surprise.

McKinney had arranged to have Wes Mason, a Norfolk native and renowned opera baritone in New York, to sing “Happy Birthday” to Arnold via cellphone.

It turned out to be a heartfelt moment and a special memory for everyone involved, Belmonte said.

A birthday party was held that day at the facility for Arnold and the Autumn Care residents. She then got to work calling her family and friends, and donations to the American Cancer Society began coming in.

Arnold’s family will hold a big birthday party at First Baptist Church in Suffolk on June 25 to celebrate her life. Almost all her family will attend, with members coming from all over the nation.

Meanwhile, she has been busy reminding everyone — no presents, just donations to the American Cancer Society.