More than 1,100 people attended a celebration of Penny Doerge’s life last Nov. 18 at St. John’s of Lattingtown Episcopal Church. Most had not known how ill she was, because the 16-year-old, who died on Nov. 10 of a brain tumor, lived in the moment, and the treatments she received for neurofibromatosis, or NF, with which she was diagnosed at just 4 months old and that ultimately led to her death, were mere inconveniences for Penny.
NF, a common genetic disorder, causes the growth of tumors on nerve pathways anywhere in the body. More common than cystic fibrosis, NF, which has been historically underfunded, can be inherited or result from a spontaneous gene mutation. There is currently no cure.
Despite the likelihood of a bleak future, Penny lived a full life in Glen Cove with her friends; her parents, Kate and Chad, and her brothers, Frankie and Henry.