The Worcester Cancer Garden

By State Rep. John Fresolo

This legislative session I filed a bill, H. 2988, that would create a โ€œPlace of Peace Healing Gardenโ€ in the City of Worcester. After receiving a favorable report from the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, H. 2988 moved through the Legislative process this winter/spring and was ultimately signed into law by the Governor on August 26, 2009.

I filed this bill in the hopes that this garden will be a quiet, tranquil place where those suffering from cancer, or who have family members or loved ones who have cancer, can go to find solace through prayer or simple reflection. Sadly, we do not have such a location in the greater Worcester area. This idea came to me after speaking with many cancer survivors and sufferers in and around the Worcester Area. After consulting with my colleagues and those in the medical profession, I soon came to believe that there was more that we in the state government can do to help those both in cancer treatment and recovery. I feel this garden will offer a sanctuary for those who need to get away from their everyday struggles and perhaps meet others in similar situations.

When finished, the garden will be located on state-owned land in Worcester on the banks of the Blackstone River less than one mile from the Route 146/ Route 90 Massachusetts Turnpike interchange. In the coming months, I will be working closely with officials from the Mass Highway Department and the Department of Conservation and Recreation to finalize the logistics of this garden. I have also reached out to the University of Massachusetts Memorial Health Care Center and St. Vincent Hospital as possible funding sources for this project. It is my expectation that the garden will be privately funded, and will be a location that local hospitals providing cancer care will refer and recommend to their patients.

Initially, I have received a positive response in financial aid for the project and I am hoping to move this process along as quickly as possible. It is my fervent hope and aspiration that by next spring there will be a restful destination in Worcester that will be a welcome place for those fighting a courageous battle against the ravages of cancer. The garden might be simple and small in size, but I am confident that it will offer great respite for those who need it the most.

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