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23 Feb 2017

Hospital 'Garden Blitz' team creates a haven for cancer patients 

Green thumbs, gorgeous landscaping, generosity and goodwill have transformed the level 6 rooftop Atrium Garden for cancer patients.

In a gardening makeover reminiscent of a TV renovation rescue, Domestic Blitz landscape guru Matt Leacy is amongst a team of design, garden and lighting suppliers who together with the San’s own groundsmen have refurbished the area providing a natural haven for cancer patients hospitalised for treatment or palliative care.

The $100,000 plus transformation of the atrium area between patients' rooms has been revitalised and beautified with donations of landscaping expertise and design, soil, plants and manpower, seating, lighting and fans.

The Atrium Garden was originally established in 2002 thanks to generous private donors Peter and Ursula Johannsen.

The upgrade was suggested by volunteers from the San Help Team and became a reality after discussions with medical and nursing staff, patients, carers, and funding from the Help Team, San Foundation, and key private donors including Landart Landscapes, the award winning Alpine Nurseries, Martins Fertilisers, and Garden at Night.

“The Landart team are thrilled to have the opportunity to help revamp the San Hospital’s rooftop to make the day-to-day environment of patients and their families a little brighter as they experience some very tough times” said Matt Leacy, founder and creative director of Landart Landscapes.

“We know that gardens and nature can have valuable therapeutic and restorative benefits on people, and we wanted to bring garden elements into the Hospital to hopefully assist the physical and mental wellbeing of patients.

This has been a really wonderful project to work on and we hope everyone enjoys spending time in the Garden.”

With its specially chosen foliage, purpose built seating, open plan design and natural light, the refurbished atrium provides patients an escape from their treatment, a place for family and friends to gather and memories to be made.  The Garden reaffirms the Hospital philosophy of not just looking after a patient’s condition but caring for all a patients physical and other needs, and provides a place of beauty and space for renewal, and reflection.

Wahroonga residents and hospital patients Ted Pender and his wife Eileen both used the garden as a place of reflection and rejuvenation during their treatments for cancer.

“Eileen was a keen gardener and it was lovely that she had a view out her window and the greenery reminded her of home” Ted says of his wife who passed away in 2016.

“We tried never to give up hope but when things were tough, the Garden had a rejuvenative and relaxing influence…particularly towards the end.”

Manager of the San Help Team Patrina McLean says the Help Team is blessed with passionate yet humble members who have networked and encouraged support for the Hospital which enabled the refurbishment.

San Foundation Managing Director Barbara Ward says her part of the fundraising efforts was inspired by friends’ experiences with cancer.

“It is a lovely environment not only for patients, their family and friends, but also for staff.”

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