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HEALTH ENVIRONMENT


‘The 50th Anniversary Healing Garden project is an expression of the volunteers’ generosity and compassion at the Cross Cancer Institute.’


trees… as a result of several factors: tight parameters of the site, the realities of constructing a plaza near existing trees, site access constraints, required excavation… it is recommended that these trees be removed due to concerns over its structural stability and the likelihood of tree mortality… remove the trees now to avoid potential future removal once the feature wall and structure are in place.’ The trees therefore needed to be replaced and the cost of this was, generously, borne by the contractors. Bad weather hampered the project. Rain


lead to a requirement for several rounds of re- compaction and re-testing. Finally, a custom- colour concrete feature was successfully poured on 12 July. The regular base concrete pour had to be deferred from 16 July to 1 August due to the continuing rain. Pergola installation, hard landscaping,


tree planting, flower bedding, commemorative monument installation and preparation follow, ready for the official opening on 17 September.


Conclusion There is now a new destination at the Cross Cancer Institute, which is marked by a commemorative monument, commissioned by


the CCIVA. The highly visible, reflective stainless steel surface of the monument, engraved with 50 hands – one hand for each year of volunteer service – draws many visitors to the new healing garden. Patients and staff enter and experience a new realm of holistic cancer care. They walk on barrier free paving, embedded with brass words of hope and healing, and are soothed by sinuous curves and greeted with a new vista at each turn. Visitors will also inhale varying seasonal


scents. Patients on wheelchairs with families are able to gather around ergonomic seating together. Staff members also use the garden to relax during break times. Rotating artwork, created by cancer patients under the Arts in Medicine Program, is displayed on the feature wall to further inspire and intrigue patients and visitors. Post- occupancy evaluation of the facility


was conducted from mid-May to Mid-June 2014, with 34 responses from 25 staff, one volunteer, four patients and four visitors. This showed that the Healing Garden has


been well received, with 32 positive feedbacks and only two disappointments. A total of 30 respondents said they would visit the garden again.


Testimonials.


“I spent six weeks as an inpatient and still remember that my view of the real world was limited to a roof top where a small seedling was heroically attempting to grow. When I was finally able to step outside and enjoy the fresh air, it was so remarkable; feeling the sun on my face and being amongst nature felt like the best cancer therapy ever.”


Debra Hall-Lavole, Board Member, Cross Cancer Institute Volunteer Association.


“We were early for an appointment and enjoyed our visit to the garden. We appreciate the good work of the volunteers.”


Comment from a patient and his wife.


“Those of us who have been on the brink of death know that nature can have a profound effect on the human spirit.”


Susan Carr, Chair of the Cross Cancer Institute Volunteer Association 50th Anniversary Committee.


Garden visitors were tallied on sunny days


from mid-May to late-June and on 7 July, 9 July and 12 July. A total of 210 visitors had visited the garden, in 65 groups of between one and eight people. Many staff enjoyed their lunch break in the garden. Patient/family groups were tallied at lunchtime as well as at other times of the day. Typical patient/family groups consisted of between two and three people. Seven patient/family groups were tallied. One patient/family group had visited the garden three times. Two patient/family groups would visit the garden again. On the busiest day, 28 persons in nine groups, which included a patient/family group with eight persons, visited the garden. It has also been reported that medical


staff are planning to hold a mid-summer evening event in the garden. The 50th Anniversary Healing Garden


project is an expression of the volunteers’ generosity and compassion at the Cross Cancer Institute. The pride resulting from the successful efforts to overcome the financial and construction challenges mirrors the deep satisfaction of the many cancer patients who triumph over various trials in the course of their cancer treatments. Just as the newly planted trees, shrubs and


flowers have the potential to grow and flourish, so will the hope and courage of each person who visits this unique sanctuary of peace, strength, and healing. On 26 February 2014, The CCIVA was


awarded the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award (Prairie Region Community Leader) in recognition of its longstanding and exceptional contributions to improving the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities at the Cross Cancer Institute. 


74 IFHE DIGEST 2015


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