Published on December 02, 2019

Artist Donates Original Painting for Cancer Patients

Photo of Penny Boldrey, Jim Vrouhas, Dorothea Vrouhas with her painting “Too Beautiful for Words”; Chuck Sherwin, and Ann Diamond,.

Volunteer Penny Boldrey; Jim Vrouhas; Painter Dorothea Vrouhas with her piece titled “Too Beautiful for Words”; Chuck Sherwin, president, MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena, and Ann Diamond, director, MidMichigan Health Foundation.

MidMichigan Health Foundation recently received a unique donation that will be hung in the Alpena Cancer Center. Artist Dorothea Sandra Vrouhas is a cancer survivor who recently moved to northeast Michigan. After spending time in the Cancer Center, she decided to do something she thought would be meaningful for other patients using services there: give them something happy and beautiful to look at.

Vrouhas, originally from New England, moved to Rogers City with brother Jim in 2017 from Florida. Before their move, she was diagnosed with stage 1 endometrial cancer, and also breast cancer. She had surgeries in Florida, but came to use the Alpena Cancer Center after moving to the area. “I had great insurance and great doctors in a ‘boutique’ hospital in Florida, but I have to tell you, I felt like a number,” she said. “The kindness I have experienced at your facility, from receptionists, nurses and doctors, has been amazing. You need to know how special you are.”

While at the Cancer Center, Vrouhas became close with volunteer Penny Boldrey. She wanted to do something to help brighten a day for those receiving treatment by painting something that could be hung in a common area. Boldrey said she knew who to contact to help facilitate such a donation. After connecting with Ann Diamond, director, MidMichigan Health Foundation, they arranged a meeting, and Vrouhas’ original art was happily accepted. Vrouhas’s brother, who serves as her manager and art packing expert, also attended. At that meeting, he recalled a staff member from Alpena sending his sister a hopeful card while they were still in Florida, knowing that would be moving to the area. “That meant a lot to me,” he said.

Vrouhas intimated that going through cancer changed her. Previous artwork she had done was somewhat grim and dark. “I decided to start painting happy things, because that’s what the world needs,” she said.

Chuck Sherwin, president, MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena, joined Diamond in accepting the piece. “One of the philosophies of MidMichigan Health is maintaining surroundings that promote healing. This painting certainly fits the bill,” he said.

“Her work is so bright and cheerful,” said Diamond. “It’s a special donation I know patients and staff will truly appreciate.”

Those interested in more information about donations to support cancer care at the Medical Center may contact Ann Diamond of the MidMichigan Health Foundation at or (989) 356-7738.

Annual Community Report

Looking Back: MidMichigan Health Highlights of 2019

Photo of 2019 Annual Report cover page.

View Report