VB Gives Back

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Penny's Flight Foundation

The Advisory Board (a.k.a. Penny's Best Friends) 

Like most nonprofits, Penny's Flight has a board that offers insight and guidance. Its members meet regularly at founder Kate Doerge's house and have helped strategize everything from the logo to programming and grants. "We barely decide anything without consulting them first," says Doerge, who started the organization in 2022 with her husband, Chad, to fund research for neurofibromatosis (NF), the disease that took their daughter Penny's life. 

Unlike most boards, however, these members balance their philanthropic workload with, well, homework—plus classes, finals, and college applications. 

The Penny's Flight Advisory Board are a group of Penny's most intimate friends, and all still in high school. Growing up, they shared weekly sleepovers and choreographed TikTok dances. When she was in the hospital, they made sure she came home to a bedroom full of candy and cheer. "During the last week of Penny's life," Doerge adds, "they barely left her side. They would sit for hours on her bed singing, laughing, rubbing her arms, and just loving her up. They were fiercely loyal to her, and continue to be." 

"Bringing us together like this felt like the most therapeutic way to remain close, keep Penny close to us, and make an impact together," says Doerge. "I can’t imagine the foundation without them."

We get to know these incredible young women here and, in honor of World NF Awareness Day, today Veronica Beard is doubling our donations to the cause. Every online order will give back even more towards the fight against NF. 

Q&A

ELLIE MYLES

Tell us about the impact Penny had on you. 

Penny was a bubbly source of light—there was truly little that could bring her down. She always had a smile on her face. Her positive attitude and bravery have inspired me to live my life the same way—to appreciate everything that I am given, and to persevere through tough times. 

ANDY FREDERICKS

Favorite thing you do as part of the Advisory Board? 

Honoring Penny and helping her memory and message live on. I love organizing and working on the Family Jamboree fundraiser and running events, like the “Pucks for Penny” hockey game. Whenever I work to support Penny’s Flight and spread her message, I feel her with me. She keeps me positive and pushes me to do my best, no matter what. 

WHITNEY CUDDEBACK

Favorite memory with Penny?

Going to Fishers Island, New York, in the summer of 2022. We were in her happy place and everything was so peaceful. We would go to the beach and talk about what we wanted our lives to look like and how we would raise our children together. Looking back at this moment makes me grateful to live such a beautiful life and pushes me to live a life she would be proud of. 

ALIX SMITH

Greatest lesson you've learned from Penny and being on the Advisory Board? 

To make the most of the time you have—not just for your lifespan but for any endeavor. Penny had a short life, but during her time, she absolutely maximized the amount of love, care, and wisdom she could give to others. Being on the Advisory Board has similarly changed my perspective on time. In just 1.5 years, we have spread so much awareness about NF. It has been such an amazing, cathartic, and rewarding experience to use the lessons I learned from Penny to share her story with the world.

LIA KOUNDOURAKIS

Favorite memory with Penny? 

Saturday sleepovers at my house. We would watch our favorite movies, try on crazy outfits and wigs, have little fashion shows, and eat our favorite meal, Patsy’s chicken. Patsy was my babysitter and we were obsessed with her chicken! I will always cherish those crazy nights—they got better and better every time.  

LILY GRANT 

Tell us about the impact Penny has had on you. 

I looked up to Penny for her humor, kindness, and compassion throughout our time together as children. As we got older, I grew to admire how she pushed through the pain and always put on a brave face. I now look up to her for her grit and perseverance. Penny shined her light the brightest in the most challenging of times. 

ELIZA WOODHOUSE 

Favorite memory with Penny?  

It was a simple hangout at her house but was the most fun I have ever had. After school one random day, we set up her iPad camera in her bedroom and recorded ourselves as we called every fast-food chain we could name—and then we put them on the phone with each other. I’ve never laughed harder. This was how it was with Penny. We never had a set plan of what to do but, if she was around, we were always guaranteed to have fun. 


From now to the end of June, we will donate a portion of proceeds from every single veronicabeard.com/en-ee order to Penny's Flight Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to funding research of neurofibromatosis (NF) and celebrating the life of Penny Doerge. Learn more here.