CHARLESTOWN — A Charlestown business owner is giving back to the community through a silent auction supporting those with breast cancer.
Melissa DuVall, owner of Absolutely You Salon on Main Cross Street in Charlestown, is raising money for the Power of Pink Gala, an annual event hosted by the News and Tribune. The Oct. 18 event benefits Norton Cancer Institute's Pat Harrison Resource Center, which offers free services for breast cancer patients.
"I'm just trying to help other people," she said.
The salon raised $2,008 for Power of Pink last year, and she hopes to raise at least that much this year. This year's live auction started about two weeks ago, and so far, the salon has raised $140 from the silent auction.
"I think it's phenomenal," she said.
DuVall is a survivor of cervical cancer, and she has a cousin with breast cancer who had a double mastectomy. When she was 7 years old, her aunt died of breast cancer. Last year, she had just completed her annual mammogram — an exam that always "weighs heavy on her mind" —when she decided to start the silent auction to support Power of Pink.
When she attended last year's Power of Pink with her cousin, she was inspired by the supportive environment.
"Last year I went to [the Power of Pink Gala], and my cousin was there," DuVall said. "She was going through some things at the time, and it's just great — it's great that everybody gathers to lift everybody up and lift each other up."
Last year's silent auction started with a pink and lavender Coach purse that was donated to DuVall. The purse brought in $750, and the silent auction featured a variety of other pink-themed items, including artwork, accessories and jewelry. She has also donated items herself — this year, the auction features a set of towels hand-embroidered by DuVall's late grandmother. Last year, she donated a piece of pink antique Depression glass that belonged to her other grandmother, and the highest bidder gifted it to someone with breast cancer.
This year, the silent auction includes handmade afghans, embroidered towels and watercolor paintings created by her clients. In addition to the donated silent auction items, the salon has received a donation of $100 for Power of Pink.
"Whatever anybody donates, we put in the auction," she said. "I think it's great, because it's both men and women, and everyone is so generous and giving."