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Format: 04/19/2014
Format: 04/19/2014

News

Washington Post: Through her paintings, she lives

Friday, July 31st, 2009

By Rick Rojas

Washington Post Staff Writer

Wanda Michael's 30-year-old daughter, Stacy Gross, died from lymphoma Feb. 17, 2008, at 5:50 a.m. But in Stacy's art, her mother says, she's alive. 

She lives in the portraits she painted so meticulously that they look like camera snapshots. She lives in the emotion that seems tangible in her subjects and in the precise symmetry of a simple flower she put to canvas.

Now, through her work, Stacy is helping other families struggling with cancer.

After her daughter's death, Michael, who lives in Gaithersburg, started Stacy's Helping Hands, a foundation that sells prints of Stacy's artwork. The money raised is for West Penn Manor, a building of apartments for cancer patients and their families, who often travel from out of town for treatments at West Penn Hospital, known as West Penn Hospital, in Pittsburgh. West Penn Manor provides a close getaway from the hospital for families like Michael's with relatives undergoing cancer treatments, Michael said.

"You need to get away," she said. "It's important that [families] can have some semblance of everyday life. You're not eating the hospital food, hearing the hospital sounds, smelling the smells."

But the apartments, which families use for free, are in desperate need of upgrades, said Beverly Beisgen, director of operations for the West Penn Hospital Foundation. The building has 12 apartments, only five of which are habitable, she said. The available ones have dated features and carpeting in a three-story building with no elevator, and renovations would cost at least $350,000.

To read more, visit the Washington Post web site.

 

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