Woman strings together a donation

Published 9:54 pm Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Staff members and interns with the American Cancer Society visit Mable Arnold for her 91st birthday. From left are Edward Bagsic, Shelly Petropol, Amanda Beck, Arnold, Tonya McKinney, Emily Bacalis and TaKindra Westbrook.

Instead of asking for something for her birthday, Mable Arnold decided — once again — to give something away instead.

The 91-year-old worked for about a month to make bracelets of pink beads of varying sizes, shapes and shades. She got the idea as she was making bracelets as a hobby.

“I got the idea to make pink bracelets, and I can sell them for cancer and give them a nice donation for my birthday,” Arnold said. “I figured I’d do something for my birthday I’d never done before.”

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She sold 31 bracelets at $10 a pop to the staff members and other residents at Autumn Care, where she lives. She had a bundle of cash waiting for the American Cancer Society representatives when they visited on Thursday, her birthday.

Tonya McKinney, Hampton Roads manager of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, brought along five interns and staff members, all of them current college students or recent college graduates.

The students sang “Happy Birthday” to Arnold, whose hair still is pink from her fund-raising stunt on last year’s birthday. Some of them even gave in to Arnold’s push to buy bracelets, bringing the grand total donation to $340.

“People like Mrs. Arnold and the contribution she makes go directly toward the patient services and research,” McKinney said. “Her compassion for others has prompted her to truly be one person who makes a difference. Some people think they can’t contribute, because they can only do a small amount, but small amounts really add up.”

McKinney said she felt it was important to bring the young people on the field trip so they could see one of the intangible rewards of nonprofit work.

“The American Cancer Society is the official sponsor of birthdays,” she said. “Our goal is to have more birthdays to celebrate.”