Hope Blooms

Local Breast Cancer Memorial Garden Gets a Glow Up


October 2023 Issue
Story and Photography by Elizabeth Skenes Millen

The Plant-it-Pink Garden, located across from the main hospital entrance at Hilton Head Regional Healthcare, was established in 2010 by a team of volunteers from The Avid Gardeners Club of Hilton Head Plantation. These gardeners had a mission of bringing year-round breast cancer awareness to the community.

“The message we hope this pink-ribbon and flower garden provides is that cancer never sleeps. We want it to emphasize the need for women to have annual mammograms for early detection and treatment,” said Sandy Stern, one of the original Avid Gardners, who helped mastermind the idea and worked for the project come to life. “The garden also represents a place to remember family and/or friends who have passed. We hope it offers peace to cancer survivors and inspires cancer research in the fight for prevention,” she added.

A labor of love over the past 13 years, the garden started showing its age and beckoned for extra tender loving care this year. Of course members of The Avid Gardners gladly took on the renovation of this extra special place. Master Gardner Janina Cushman and her husband Rob, whose yard was on the All Saints Episcopal Garden Tour last spring, volunteered to lead the group.HopeBlooms1023 2

“The big freeze K.o.’d every Penta there was,” Rob said. “We had to go back to ground zero and start over. We also had an irrigation problem—there was none. For years, ladies from the Avid Gardners would go and water the garden daily.”

Alas, there is power in determination and community. Enter the troops: The Hospital Auxillary helped to fund the irrigation project, and The Greenery donated the Pentas. Of course, the Hospital was a part of it all in engineering and helping make this project find new life, and The Avid Gardners brought the manual labor and beauty.

The volunteers from The Avid Gardners were happy to get their hands in the dirt, planting new flowers and adding vibrant color. The planter pots, which form the garden's pink ribbon border, the symbol synonymous with breast cancer, were all given a fresh coat of bright pink paint. This garden is everything it’s supposed to be—a homage to those who have fought the fight, a memorial to those who lost, and a reminder for us to never forget and never give up.

“It’s been a labor of love by our gardeners for the past 13 years, and we have found new joy in renovating it this past year,” Sandy said. “We hope everyone will go see it, remember someone special to them, and maybe even find solace and peace.”

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