Healing garden unveiled

A green space with ocean and mountain views, benches to sit down on and a garden to relax in is now officially open on the backside of St. Joseph's General Hospital for patients, employees and visitors.

Last Friday, the healing garden was officially opened during a formal ceremony, acknowledging the community for entrusting its care in the hospital for the last 100 years, explained Lynn Dashkewytch, executive director of the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation.

"It was determined that a healing garden would fit really well with a lasting legacy for St. Joseph's," she added.

Former nurse, clinical co-ordinator and educator Barb Paulson said to the crowd of more than one hundred gathered for the ribbon cutting ceremony, she has worn a variety of hats around the hospital, and appreciates the garden for what it will offer.

"As an employee, I really think we can benefit from this healing garden. It will give us time so we can get out of our busy hectic schedules. As a visitor, I know walking though these hospital doors it's not always for a happy occasion, and coming here to this outside environment, looking at this beautiful scenery ... taking in the nature, because it does have a calming effect and it will reduce that stress and that anxiety that a lot of visitors, support people have coming in here," she noted.

As a patient, I'm a cancer survivor of over 10 years, and as a patient, I would have loved the opportunity to have this and come here after I've received the diagnosis of my cancer, after my surgery, so I can come and sit here and digest all of the information that was given to me."

The garden was designed by Island Waterworks and was fully funded by last year's Mindset Wealth St. Joseph's Charity Golf Classic.

The announcement was in conjunction with a donor recognition ceremony and an announcement by Health Minister Terry Lake and Comox Valley MLA Don McRae, who announced a $250,000 grant to the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation to support renovation costs to four new hospice beds in The Views.

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