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Huntington muralist recognized for work

Diana Fogarty, of Huntington, was recognized as Citizen

Diana Fogarty, of Huntington, was recognized as Citizen of the Week by Citizens Bank for her volunteer work painting murals with Splashes of Hope. (May 16, 2011) Credit: Erin Geismar

After her father died two years ago, Diana Fogarty wanted to do something to brighten the lives of hospital patients.

Fogarty, 31, of Huntington, said she spent a lot of time in hospital rooms while her father dealt with complications related to congestive heart and kidney failure, which eventually took his life.

“It was really important to me to improve that environment,” she said.

So she reached out to Splashes of Hope, a Huntington-based nonprofit organization that paints murals in hospitals to improve patient experience, and offered her time and talent.

Fogarty, a graphics designer by trade who has always loved to paint and draw, is now one of the organization’s most active volunteers -- spending evenings, weekends and even vacation time to help “splash” hospitals around the country.

In recognition of her dedication, Fogarty was recently named Citizen of the Week by Citizens Bank, which sponsors a weekly profile of a volunteer on News 12.

Fogarty was chosen the week of May 9, but she didn’t see her own profile on TV because she was traveling on the West Coast for three weeks, splashing hospitals in California and Oregon.

Heather Buggee, founder and executive director of Splashes of Hope, said she nominated Fogarty for the honor because of her dedication, which Buggee said has greatly impacted the amount of work the group has been able to accomplish.

In October, Splashes of Hope ventured into publishing by creating a coloring and activity book meant for children in hospitals. The book, “Friend on the Mend,” was designed by Fogarty and Buggee.

Fogarty is proud of the book because it was one more way Splashes was “really making a difference.”

Fogarty also designs many of the organization’s custom murals for specific children’s hospital rooms or bedrooms, if they are recovering at home.

“They give us a long and crazy list of everything they like,” she said. “And then I put everything in it.”

Buggee said it takes a “very special person” to be as dedicated to the work as Fogarty is.

Fogarty said it’s easy to spend so much time at the organization when she thinks about how her work is helping someone in need.

“I hope very much that whoever is going to be looking at whatever I’m painting can be drawn into the world that I’m creating for them,” she said. “When they are going through something not so great, they can use it as a way to be distracted.”

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