UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Magazine Fall 2015 - Page 14

giving back Vicki Denaburg VOLUNTEER PROFILE By H I L A R Y M E A R E S Birmingham artist Vicki Denaburg does not know why she agreed to participate in the first ArtBLINK Gala in February 2008. She had only been painting a few years, and she was extremely nervous to paint in front of an audience who would be bidding on her art right in front of her eyes. “The other artists were such big names,” Mrs. Denaburg says. “I wasn’t even close to their league.” each year. She has become one of the more involved ArtBLINK artists, having participated every year and serving as a leader on the event’s planning committee. A unique aspect of ArtBLINK is that guests can watch and interact with the artists as they work, and Mrs. Denaburg – typically dressed in a beautiful gown – is always popular with guests. “My favorite part of the Gala is when people stop me to talk while I paint. People always make fun of me because I love to dress up, and I always buy a new dress to paint in,” she says. But, for some reason, she could not say no. So Mrs. “They always ask me if I’m afraid to ruin it while Denaburg joined 10 other local artists to participate I paint. Of course not! That’s why I buy them.” ArtBLINK Gala, in which each artist had 90 minutes Mrs. Denaburg personally. In 2013, she lost her off to raise money for cancer research. At the time, 2015. Her father recently survived a battle with cancer connection that drew her to the event. “I participated so early on to participate,” she says. “God told me to opportunities to help people, and I knew this was a hits closer to home.” in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center’s first Like so many people, cancer eventually affected to create a piece of art that would then be auctioned mother-in-law to cancer, and her sister-in-law in May Mrs. Denaburg did not have a personal cancer and is now cancer-free. “Maybe this is why I was led because every day people are supposed to find say yes to the event for this reason, and now my story wonderful cause,” she recalls. Leading up to the event, Mrs. Denaburg, a former because every day people are supposed to find opportunities to help people, and I knew this was a wonderful cause.” Mrs. Denaburg had always planned on participating in the event for as long as the Cancer make-up artist, practiced for weeks and weeks. “I was Center hosts it, but now she has personal experience husband prepared my father-in-law to buy my painting mother-in-law in 2014, and she plans on painting painting was ready to be auctioned off, paddles shot up event. “I feel blessed and humbled to be able to be a needless to say, her father-in-law didn’t have to buy it. help other families have a less difficult time, and if I one of Birmingham’s most popular and unique events, then I will.” so nervous about being embarrassed that my sweet she will bring with her. She painted in honor of her just in case no one wanted it,” she says. But when her in honor of her father and sister-in-law at this year’s in the air. Her painting sold for $4,000 that day, and part of this event,” she says. “If I can do anything to In the following years, ArtBLINK has grown into “I participated can help the Cancer Center get closer to finding cures, and it is something Mrs. Denaburg looks forward to 24 U A B C O M P R E H E N S I V E C A N C E R C E N T E R # K N O W U A B C C C • U A B . E D U / C A N C E R 25