The butterfly effect is a phenomenon in which a tiny event, like the flap of a butterfly’s wings, can result in a profound and far-reaching shift of circumstance. 

Through Penny’s story and bright light, the Penny's Flight Foundation aims to expand knowledge around NF, while inspiring others to find beauty in imperfection, positivity in the face of challenge, and faith over fear.

About Penny

Penelope Griggs Doerge (June 29, 2006 - November 10, 2022) was a talented artist, fashionista, world traveler, social media influencer and the founder of “Glam Camp”, a summer program for young girls. In just 16 years, she lived a life full of purpose, passion and joy, and through her actions showed countless others how to live with grace.

Penny was a model of resilience, positivity and courage. Diagnosed with neurofibromatosis (NF1) as an infant, Penny never let this define her or hold her back. She lived her life “Walking on Sunshine”, in the words of her favorite song. Penny made an impact everywhere she went by shining her bright light. She was an inspiration and a teacher to people of all ages.

Penny is the daughter of Chad and Kate Doerge who created the Penny’s Flight Foundation shortly after Penny’s death in November 2022.  The Foundation was created to advance medical research in NF1 and its related disorders, and to inspire others to live with positivity and humor and find the beauty and joy in all situations.

Prints for Penny

Donald Robertson's "Penny's Flight" Print

At the age of nine years old, Penny was introduced to Donald Robertson’s whimsical artwork. She was immediately drawn to his wildly colorful paintings, his sense of fun and humor when drawing everything from the fashion crowd to wild animals to French fries. Donald’s artwork is packed with Joy and that made an impression on Penny.

When the opportunity came to meet Donald in person, she took some of her paintings - as well as some recreations she had done of his work - to show him in NYC. Donald immediately wrapped Penny up in his signature gaffer tape and threatened to "call the cops" because her "paintings were TOO good"! When they stopped laughing, they had some time to paint together and talk about their lives. Donald encouraged her to keep painting and to stay endlessly creative. Which is exactly what she did. 

After hearing Penny had passed, Donald only needed a few key words (the beach, butterflies, joy) to give Penny's family this painting in her honor. 

They in turn, want to share "Penny’s Flight" as a tribute to her bright and beautiful life and to the joy she will forever spread to others.

Some of the many Paintings by Penny

Penny first discovered her love for the arts when she was just 3 years old. From bedazzling her many casts and dressing her dolls in "fashionable outfits", to painting in her bed while recovering from a surgery, she found beauty in any activity she undertook.

Penny spent every Friday after school with a group of girlfriends in a small, warm and very loving art studio with their teacher, Ms. Jackie. The girls would paint, laugh, listen to music and share in each other's creativity and joy. It was in the studio where Penny fine-tuned her skills and began to paint many pieces. Her art was displayed in the end of year showcase and, later, Penny started selling a select few at the annual Craft Fair on Fishers Island where she spent her summers.

While Penny's family and friends would frequently tell her how talented she was, Penny never wanted to be the center of attention, and just enjoyed the work that allowed her to feel free and happy.