After her last chemotherapy session, a woman I know named Alison threw a celebratory brunch for 85, followed by a bulb planting session in her yard. I thought it was the perfect ritual on so many levels, expressing hope for the future, the importance of life's simplest pleasures and the healing power of getting dirty in a garden. I imagine that every year, when the bulbs push through the earth, she is reminded of this joyful anniversary and her celebration with the people most important to her.
The Cancer Garden of Hope takes Alison's idea into a public space, City Hall Plaza in Boston. The garden is raising money for 12 nonprofits that benefit cancer research and survivors, including the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center , by selling flowers, engraved bricks and marble plaques. Bricks and plaques will be engraved with a personalized message from the donor.
The garden is the brainchild of the Conquer Cancer Coalition of Massachusetts, an organization started by Susan Zuker and her two sons. Susan is one of the most passionate and inspiring women I know. She started the organization, which provides funding to organizations working to conquer all forms of cancer, after her husband Michael passed away from lung cancer in 2003. If you’ve ever seen a Conquer Cancer Massachusetts license plate, you can thank Susan and her sons. They got enough people to apply for these specialized plates that the Registry of Motor Vehicles agreed to produce them.
I love the idea of the Cancer Garden of Hope and think they should bloom all over the country. I could imagine hospitals doing smaller versions of this as a fund raising project. Do any of you know of anything similar to this?