Around the Bluhmin’ Town


She has a purpose. A talent, and a God-given gift that she has graciously shared with sick children.

Her name is Dorothy Crane, she is a 96-years-young resident of Black Canyon City who makes collage books out of construction paper and cut-out pictures from magazines, creating uplifting and beautiful picture books.

Dorothy’s mission is to bring smiles and comfort to suffering children and every day she makes little works of art, punching holes, tying ribbon, arranging and pasting pictures in a true labor of love.

It is said, “life without a purpose, is no life at all.” Purpose is not restricted by age, health, wealth or circumstance. It is the inner drive to forge ahead, make a difference, know that our efforts matter and that our journey is better when we have a goal.

My mother died last December at the age of 97. Her last few years were difficult as she moved out of the family home into assisted living. Her health failed her, yet one of her missions at the nursing home was to improve the food by “teaching” the cooking staff to cook.

She helped them with menu planning, shared recipes and every Tuesday held a cooking class for all the residents (and staff). At age 96, she revised her cookbook that she had written years before. She baked hundreds of cookies during holiday seasons.

The lesson? Keep going. The rewardsto yourself and others – are huge.

Dorothy Crane is a role-model for each of us. Her husband of 64 years passed away many years ago and to work through her grief, she poured her heart into craft projects. The one project that dominated her time and became a core purpose, was the collage books.

When 30 books are completed, Dorothy boxes them up and sends them to a children’s hospital on her list of 20.

So how many books has Dorothy made? A whopping 10,000 books have been lovingly created, sent and received! Every box that is sent brings hope, joy and encouragement to an ill child.

Her box of 30 books was sent in November 2018, to New Orleans Children’s Hospital and they were the lucky recipient of her 10,000th book. What a legacy!

Boxes of 30 collage books are sent to 20 hospitals in five states. How is this possible?

Neighbors and friends in Black Canyon City take magazines, paper, glue and other supplies to Dorothy Crane. Often these helpful folks take the boxes to the post office and pay for the postage.

One lady inspires a whole town to spring to action. And we are all better because of it.

A couple of the hospitals that receive these books in Arizona are John C. Lincoln and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Today a child is in a hospital room, perhaps frightened and in need of comfort. And today, a sick child will receive a happy, hand-made book of pictures of kittens, doggies, rabbits, unicorns, sunsets, princesses . . . and many more images that are joyful reminders of a wonderful world.

How do we spread hope and love? If you are Dorothy Crane, one collage book at a time.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Please contact Judy on her email at