xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

GBMC's "pink" garden is symbol of health, healing and hope

Nature has a way of providing a restorative balance to the mind, body and spirit. Without delving too deeply into the facts and figures of this phenomenon, I like to think it has something to do with how we evolved as humans in a natural environment and how our surroundings provided us with the framework for survival. With this came an innate sense of camaraderie with nature. So when faced with many of life's challenge, it makes sense that many people choose a natural setting to retreat to. I think that a nice walk outside or sitting on a park bench observing wildlife can do wonders for the soul and mind.

A garden can be a wonderful retreat when looking to relieve stress. This is why many medical centers have developed special healing gardens for patients and their loved ones. Most healing gardens are on the grounds of the hospital or health care facility and are created somewhere that patients and visitors can visit and begin to heal. The gardens have many benefits, including being a place for patients to exercise, which in turn can help improve their mood. The garden can also be a place where patients and their families can connect spiritually with their surroundings. Connections can be made with others as well. These areas can be a place where you may meet others to talk to for support or just to boost your mood. Visiting the healing garden also gives many patients who have been confined to a hospital room for long periods of time a place to enjoy the sunlight and gain some control over their surroundings.

Advertisement

The healing garden at Greater Baltimore Medical Center in Towson is a beautiful respite for cancer patients there. The garden is located between the Berman Cancer Institute and the Daffodil parking garage. According to GBMC's website, "nearly 95 percent of cancer treatment is provided in outpatient settings, and newly diagnosed cancer patients, on average, experience 100 outpatient visits for treatment during the first 12 months following their diagnosis of cancer." These visits are often tiring and stressful for cancer patients and their families. The healing garden was created with these patients in mind.

The upper garden was opened during the month of October in 2011 to honor breast cancer patients. On the street level, there is a "pink" garden with lots of pink blooming flowers and plants. There is also a peaceful water feature in the shape of a cancer ribbon with water trickling down over the stones. At the top of the ribbon sits a ceramic frog holding a sign that says "Free Kisses." To me, the frog symbolizes the many people who are there to support the cancer patients.

Advertisement

On the next level of the garden, there is large bronze sculpture named "Health, Healing, Hope," designed by local artist Dana Maranto, that gives patients and visitors a soothing visual reminder of the strength they possess. The piece is a bas-relief sculpture of birds flying in a sunlit sky with hands reaching toward it.

On the same level is a bell on a wooden post with a sign below it that reads: "Commemorating the feat accomplished by completing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, our cancer patients RING this antique bell at GBMC's Sandra and Malcom Berman Cancer Institute, a symbol of Heath-Healing-Hope and Survivorship. This bell, with its reverent breathing sound ripples throughout the Cancer Institute's healing garden. Soon the bell is quiet, awaiting another cancer patient on his or her journey. There will again be tolling of the special bell to inspire and celebrate life." Reading this plaque, I cannot think of a better way to symbolize the end of a journey and the beginning of a new one.

There are lush plants, flowers and trees on the second level, as well as benches to sit on. Many of the patient rooms look out upon this lovely garden.

On the first level of the garden, there is a rippling water feature that empties into a fish pond. There are many small fish swimming around and the trickling of the water makes you feel like you are out in the woods. In fact, the entire garden has the tendency to make you forget you are even at the hospital. That feeling alone may help patients and their love ones decompress, connect with nature and heal.

GBMC is located at 6701 N. Charles St in Towson.

Kelly Scible is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached at kellyscible@gmail.com.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement