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June 5, 2012
Five years ago, Mary Coulter had an idea to create a place where cancer survivors could go to reflect on their journey. She envisioned a garden as a place to celebrate their trials and triumphs; a place where hope could bloom.
Coulter, a registered nurse in infection control at LHSC, was inspired at the time by a tree planting program through the London Home Builders’ Association. She contacted the association with her idea, and together they worked with the City of London, Wellspring Cancer Support Network and LHSC to make the garden a reality.
Three years ago, the first daffodils were planted in the Cancer Survivor’s Garden at the corner of Wonderland Rd. and Riverside Dr., in McKillop Park.
“It was a true community project,” says Coulter, as people from across London came out to help plant more than 5,000 daffodils during that first year.
Three years later, there are close to 20,000 that bloom each year. The garden was “officially” opened with the LHBA handing the space back to the City of London in a ceremony on June 3. The date is significant as June 3 marks National Cancer Survivors’ Day.
Coulter herself is a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in 2005 with breast cancer, and completed her treatment in 2006.
“The garden is an outlet for the community to show a unique way of caring,” says Coulter. “The intention is to inspire hope, with the belief that with hope comes strength.”
The garden features a labyrinth where patients and families touched by cancer can go for mindful meditation. During the official opening ceremony, sponsors for the garden including Coulter placed 13 stones engraved with words of inspiration throughout the labyrinth.The garden is open for anyone who wishes to visit.
The Cancer Survivors’ Garden is located at the corner of Wonderland Rd. and Riverside Dr. in McKillop Park.