Preserving a Hygienist’s Memory by Helping Future Hygienists
Late last July, I finished up a fantastic weekend at RDH, Under One Roof. The energy from the hygiene community was electric. As I sat in the Chicago airport waiting to depart, I received somber news regarding a hygienist who was close to my heart. A friend, Susan “Abby” Belli, had passed away. She was in a fatal bicycle accident earlier that afternoon.
I met Abby about two years ago when I drove six hours from NJ to PA on a late Friday night to reunite with college friends. I arrived at my friend’s family home late, exhausted and ready to collapse. I was somewhat disappointed (seeing as I desperately wanted to crawl into bed) to see the house filled with people laughing and polishing off yet another bottle of wine; I knew the party wasn’t going to settle down anytime soon.
As sleepy (and cranky) as I was, I was somehow brought to life. The laughter in the room was contagious, and it seemed to all center around one woman, Susan “Abby” Belli. There was something about Abby you couldn’t explain. Instantly upon meeting her, you felt like you knew her for a lifetime.
The next few times I drove out to Pennsylvania, I was glad to see Abby in the crowd. If she was around, you knew it would be a great time. It seemed so fitting when I found out Abby was a dental hygienist at a pediatric dental office for a number of years. She had the nurturing personality needed to fill such an important position.
The last time I saw Abby, we went to a Pittsburgh Pirates game. She must have asked me 13 times if I wanted a pepperoni roll, but I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was a vegetarian, so I just kept responding with “not right now, thanks.” That’s the type of giving woman she was.
I can’t begin to describe the pain those who are close to her are feeling. I only knew her for a short time, and in that short time she made an impact on my life. Survived by her husband, Carl, and two children, Alicia and Jacob, her family is doing all they can to preserve her memory.
In Abby’s memory, Carl Belli established the Susan A. “Abby” Belli Endowment Scholarship at Westmoreland County Community College. As all my friends in the dental community know, the cost of instruments needed for hygiene school is very high. Abby worked so hard to come up with the funds to purchase the necessary tools. The scholarship will help struggling hygiene students defray the high cost of instruments.
To help, donations to the scholarship fund may be sent to WCCC Education Fund, c/o Susan A.”Abby” Belli Endowment Scholarship, 145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, PA 15697.
Susan “Abby” Belli will truly be missed in the hygiene community, among friends and family, and by all who were lucky to have known her. Her memory will live on forever.