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Authors

  1. YOUNG-MASON, JEANINE EdD, RN, CS, FAAN

Article Content

Hope in Bloom is a charitable organization in Massachusetts that plants gardens gratis at the homes of breast cancer patients. This new endeavor was born as the result of the breast cancer diagnosis and untimely death of Beverly Eisenberg, a close childhood friend of Roberta Hershon.

 

Hershon wrote in her Hope in Bloom Web site (http://www.hopeinbloom.org) that "Hope in Bloom was born when Beverly Eisenberg my friend for almost 50 years learned she had breast cancer. The idea became a reality when she died of the disease in August 2005. Beverly loved flowers and took pride in her garden. Together, we spent hours pouring over catalogs, visiting nurseries, selecting plants and digging in the dirt. When she was no longer able to garden, her friends kept her house filled with flowers. She, like so many of us, took pleasure in their quiet beauty."

 

Hershon adds, "The healing power of gardens can be traced to early Asian, Greek and Roman cultures. Healing gardens have been proven to be therapeutic sanctuaries offering both comfort and hope to meet the emotional and psychological needs of patients and their families. Hope in Bloom can help breast cancer patients keep the sights, sounds and smells of nature in their lives."

 

A Hope in Bloom garden will provide breast cancer patients with a beautiful tranquil place to sit, reflect, and escape from the world of doctors, hospitals, and sickness. The plan is to create a life affirming indoor or outdoor garden oasis or landscaped patio for any breast cancer patient who requests one. All will have symbols of life, including color, texture, fragrance, and sound, incorporated into their designs. Each garden will be tailored to a patient's residential situation and lifestyle.1 The first garden was planted in summer 2007. Thus far, there have been 20 installations. Anyone diagnosed and in treatment of breast cancer can request a garden through the Hope in Bloom Web site (http://www.hopeinbloom.org).

 

Hershon has enlisted landscape artists and nurseries plus a cadre of volunteers to assist in this project. The landscape artists donate their design time working out minute details of the garden with each recipient. Nurseries donate materials and labor, along with other volunteers at the installation. Care and tending plans are created, and staff return several times during the first year to assure that the garden thrives. Several successful fund-raisers have been held. As the requests for gardens increase, so does the need for substantially more materials. There have been multiple press releases about this remarkable program. Indeed, Hershon hopes that the idea will spread to other states to become chapters.

 

Hope in Bloom is a notable and life-affirming cooperative effort in which individuals of a larger community come together in recognition of another's suffering and need for hope. It is an acknowledgement of the fact that our lives are closely tied to one another and to nature and that nature, in all her beauty, reflects life and hope. And it is an act of faith that reminds us all that within each of us, there is a given talent that can lend hope to those who need it most. In this way, hope is rekindled in the demoralized and disconsolate. Hope in Bloom is more than an adjunct to cancer care and treatment; it is crucial to health and healing. The conception, evolution, and care of each garden are a metaphor and actual model for the tender care of each garden recipient.

 

Reference

 

1. Blue Plate Communications Web site. http://www.blueplate.com. Accessed November 17, 2007. [Context Link]