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Promise and Progress - Caring Collection

Leading the Way Fall 2009 Winter 2010

Caring Collection

By: Valerie Mehl
Date: December 1, 2009

The Kimmel Cancer Center's Angels

The Kimmel Cancer Center has a guardian angel—in fact it has tens of thousands of them. In homes, offices, and hospitals around the world, Bobbie Burnett’s stained glass angels have become a symbol in the ongoing fight against cancer. The Caring Collection—her name for the collection of angels she has designed and sold for more than two decades and the people who come together to make them— is approaching $1 million in donations to the Kimmel Cancer Center and other local institutions.

“I thought it was a miracle when we reached $100,000.

We were just an ordinary group of people, but we are doing something extraordinary,” says Burnett. “Now I want to reach $1 million.”

The Caring Collection began in 1982 when stainedglass artist Bobbie Burnett created
Susie’s angel to help a friend who was battling leukemia.

Every year since, she has designed a new angel for the collection. Over the last 25 years, the soft-spoken Burnett and her 90 volunteers have been a blessing to cancer patients and the scientists searching for cures, turning more than 175,000 pounds of stained glass into 36,000 angels and raising nearly $800,000 for cancer research equipment.

Each angel is painstakingly handcrafted, taking about 20 hours to make. “Every one is a symbol of hope and caring,” says Burnett. Children of cancer patients, a young man working court-ordered community service, a blind woman who strings fishing line on suncatchers, student service clubs, retirees, and church groups work side by side in Burnett’s Annapolis, Md. studio assembling and packaging angels. Much to the relief of patients and researchers, Burnett, 70, says she has no plans to retire.

“This is isn’t my work,” she says. “It’s my life.”

The Caring Collection includes a variety of one-of-akind stained-glass pieces, including table-top sized freestanding angel statues, suncatchers, and pins and range in price from $15 to $85. To view or purchase angels, visit