Healing garden a legacy for 50 years of cancer volunteers
November 14, 2012 - EDMONTON – The Cross Cancer Institute’s Volunteer Association (CCIVA) turned sod today
on a new outdoor space that will form a lasting legacy for cancer patients and celebrate a half-
century of volunteering at the Alberta Health Services (AHS) cancer centre.
The Healing Garden, located on the west side of the cancer centre, will provide an appealing
environment for patients and families to interact with nature and get respite from their cancer
journey. The $600,000 wheelchair-accessible space — built through a partnership that includes
the CCIVA, the Alberta Cancer Foundation and Delnor Construction Ltd. — will include two plaza
areas and a small private seating zone surrounded by vegetation and shrubs.
Currently, there are few places for patients and families near the cancer centre to enjoy nature.
“A healing garden will be a wonderful gift to cancer patients,” says cancer survivor Debra Hall-
Lavoie, now a member of the CCIVA board.
“I spent six weeks as an inpatient and still remember that my view of the real world was limited
to a rooftop where a small seedling heroically attempted to grow. When I was finally able to
step outside and enjoy the fresh air, it was so remarkable; feeling the sun on my face and being
amongst nature felt like the best cancer therapy ever.”
The garden is expected to open in June 2013.
The CCIVA is comprised of about 350 people who ensure patients, families and visitors are
supported and feel welcome during their time at the hospital. This includes navigating patients
around the facility, serving refreshments, providing information and transportation services, and
running a wig salon for patients who lose hair as a result of their treatment.
Seeking a legacy project to mark 50 years of enhancing patient care and comfort, the CCIVA
proposed a healing garden several years ago.
“The Alberta Cancer Foundation eases the journey for Albertans facing cancer and this healing
garden is one of the ways we can do that,” says Myka Osinchuk, CEO of the Alberta Cancer
Foundation. “We are pleased to be a partner in the creation of this garden and privileged to invest
our donors’ dollars in an initiative that will provide enhanced patient care at the Cross Cancer
Ron Hinz, Principal of Delnor Construction, says his firm is privileged to be part of an initiative he
“The Cross Cancer Institute does so much to provide hope to its patients – for us to be able
to help provide comfort to those who need it the most is a truly humbling experience,” Hinz
says. “Delnor, with our subtrade and supplier partners, are proud to donate a significant portion of
the construction costs to make this project a reality.”
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering
health supports and services for more than 3.8 million adults and children living in Alberta. Its
mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable
for all Albertans.
The Alberta Cancer Foundation is Alberta’s own. It was established to advance cancer research
provincewide and to directly support Alberta’s 17 cancer centres, including the Cross Cancer
Institute and Tom Baker Cancer Centre. The Alberta Cancer Foundation acts on the knowledge
that a cancer-free future is achievable and that when we get there depends on the focus and
energy we put to it today.
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Architect’s rendering of the garden is available for media on request.