Warmed by spring sunshine, more than 250 people – including City of Hope Orange County grateful patients and their families – rolled up their sleeves and planted the first plants in the healing garden at Lennar Foundation Cancer Center at City of Hope Orange County.
Whether it was for themselves as they continue the fight, or in honor of someone they love or lost, all who shared the occasion were impacted by cancer in some way.
The planting day celebration on the 11-acre campus was made possible by a $1 million donation from Lowe’s, which is committed to giving back to the communities it serves.
City of Hope Orange County invited grateful patients, their families and community members to be the first to plant in the garden that will be a healing environment for generations to come. Lowe’s Red Vest associate volunteers were on hand to assist with the planting and educate attendees about the plants.
The garden surrounds the Lennar Foundation Cancer Center at City of Hope Orange County, opening in Irvine this year. Dozens of plants, many with potential medicinal value, will be part of the campus.
“Generous like-minded donors such as Lowe’s share our vision of building and planting something monumental for generations to come. When we plant these gardens, and when we open the doors of Lennar Foundation Cancer Center at City of Hope Orange County, we say to the world that, together, we are launching a new era of cancer care and healing –one that focuses on cancer cures for the body, mind, and soul,” says Annette Walker, President, City of Hope Orange County. “Fighting cancer with the latest technological advances and healing with innovative techniques is how we address this disease in the 21stcentury.”
The planting day reflects City of Hope’s goal of building a cancer center for and with the community. Two years ago, City of Hope Orange County asked for feedback on the interior design from hundreds of community members, patients, and health care experts. When building began, staff members, patients, and construction workers were invited to leave messages of hope in the foundation.
These beautiful healing gardens are a testament to City of Hope’s commitment to healing body, mind, and soul. “The gardens reflect our interest in integrative medicine practices that have not been part of standard therapies. There is substantial evidence of the efficacy of these therapies, especially to help people with cancer deal with pain, fatigue, anxiety, and other symptoms,” said Richard T. Lee, M.D., Medical Director, Integrative Medicine Program, City of Hope, who is world-renowned for studies that combine standard medical practices with non-conventional therapies, including meditation, acupuncture, and herbal medicine.
“Additionally, the environment plays an important role in health and recovering from cancer treatments. Healing gardens can improve physical, emotional, social and psychological well-being,” he said.
For grateful patient Donna McNutt, who is living with a rare form of blood cancer called multiple myeloma, the garden is an expression of the love and healing she has received at City of Hope.
“City of Hope gave me my life back,” she says, recounting fond memories of gardening with her father growing up. “Anyone who knows me understands what City of Hope means to me. I’m so thankful that more patients will benefit from City of Hope’s care, and I’m looking forward to seeing hope blossom in the healing garden.”
When Lennar Foundation Cancer Center at City of Hope Orange County opens this year, it will offer access to more 400 physicians and 1,000 researchers focused solely on cancer. Patients will have access to lifesaving clinical trials of promising treatments years before they are standard of care. From the moment patients walk in, they will know they are in a place like none other. Inside and outside, patients will be surrounded by hope