Andy Costner says his father, Mark, and his mother, Jenifer, are the inspiration for his Eagle Scout project, a healing garden at Community Regional Cancer Center-North. While Andy’s father was treated for lymphoma at Community last year, Jenifer would spend a lot of time in the waiting room during her husband’s eight-hour chemotherapy treatments. Andy saw how his father’s illness affected his mother and realized he could brighten the days of other families who wait while their loved ones receive treatment, by creating a cheerful outdoor space.
“I thought the whole experience would be a little less grueling if she had a peaceful area to wait for my dad,” said Andy.
Members of Boy Scout Troop 101 of Noblesville joined the Costner family, nurses from the cancer center, and local sponsors to install the healing garden just in time for Mother’s Day. Volunteers completed work on the garden in one day. The finished project includes a fountain, birdfeeders, benches and landscaping.
The garden, originally intended as a space for visitors to the center, will also benefit patients. Patients receiving treatment indoors will have a view of the garden from their private rooms. Other patients who are accompanied by a friend or family member will have the chance to receive their treatment outdoors, thanks to an extra-wide concrete path leading to the garden that accommodates medical equipment.
“Many of our patients receive four to eight hours of treatment and have few diversions to occupy them while they are here,” said Lorrie Ramsey, R.N., clinical director at Community Regional Cancer Center-North. “The garden will give them an opportunity to enjoy the view, watch the birds if they are able, take a short stroll and enjoy the outdoors. I believe it will really enhance their experience in a positive way.”
Andy spent a significant amount of time coordinating this effort by partnering with Community Health Network and local businesses, which generously donated materials and volunteers for the healing garden project. The project brings Andy one step closer to becoming an Eagle Scout, but it also has special meaning for him personally. “I’ll become a better leader and be able to say I’ve accomplished something that means a lot to me,” said Andy of his efforts. “And it will be a little more comfortable around the cancer center.”