With fall leaves underfoot as well as a bit of mud, Monticello Cancer Center doctors, nurses and staff broke ground Oct. 13 for a place of healing and reflection.
A new outdoor garden will be entirely built with donated money and labor, and will be open to all of the members of the community.
The Monticello Cancer Center is building the garden to enhance cancer care in the community and provide a serene environment for its patients and families.
Director Kathy Soland said that the healing garden will be located next to the Monticello Cancer Center on River Street and will be available for use year-round.
Last Saturday’s event featured a kids’ petting zoo, hand-painting, Monticello Fire Department truck, ambulance tours, silent auction, and cancer center tours.
Danielle Enberg, Miss Wright County International, spoke about her personal connection as 20-year cancer survivor during her mid-morning dedication remarks.
On May 31, 1990, Enberg was diagnosed with Stage 5 Wilm’s Tumor, a form of kidney cancer. At the time, her chances of survival were less than 3 percent
Enberg was diagnosed just 12 short days before her first birthday, and has had a passion for destroying childhood cancer ever since. The cancer took both of her kidneys, so on top of the regular chemotherapy and radiation treatments used to treat cancer, Enberg has had to have dialysis done as well. That also meant that a kidney transplant had to be done in order for her to survive. Her father donated one of his kidneys in 1993, but earlier this year, Enberg learned her donated kidney is going into rejection, and she needs another kidney somewhere in the next two to five years. “But, I still consider myself lucky, because I’m alive and I’m here.” Enberg said people don’t realize the devastating impact childhood cancer has on families. “Childhood cancer is considered a rare disease in children. Yet, it is the No. 1 disease-related killer of children,” she said.
Soland asked Dr. Harold Londer, a medical oncologist and outreach provider from North Memorial’s Hubert Humphrey Cancer Center to dedicate the garden.
Londer has brought the gift of healing to Monticello and Wright County for more than 20 years, she said. “This healing garden is not just for cancer patients and families,” Londer said. “It’s going to be a peaceful place for people who don’t have cancer, where they can reflect on thoughts they want to bring together or think about a medical issue or something personal, having a place to come where its tranquil, I just saw the plans. It’s really going to be a special place.”
Londer introduced Dr. Nelson Adamson, a radiation oncologist affiliated with the CentraCare Coborn Cancer Center. Adamson provided an uplifting message.
“A day never passes where I don’t talk to someone about [cancer-related] issues, and helping them work through things,” he said. It’s a constant source of inspiration. It makes you want to come to work everyday. This garden will certainly be part of that process. With the backdrop of the river behind us, it will be a beautiful place.”
The center needs many volunteers to help ensure the healing garden is a success for its patients and community. According to the Monticello Cancer Center’s page on the New River Medical Center’s website, the following volunteers are needed: Facebook monitor, photographers, copywriters, grant writers, fund-raiser coordinator, large equipment owners and operators to transplant trees and help with boulders and outdoor and landscape building experts as well as planters.
The Monticello Cancer Center is accepting cash donations to be used to purchase plants, trees and garden accessories for the healing garden. Donations can be made to Monticello Cancer Center and mailed to The Monticello Cancer Center at 1001 Hart Boulevard, Suite 50, Monticello, MN 55362. According to Soland, all healing garden donations are tax deductible and any donation of $500 or more will be publicly recognized with permanent signage in the garden.