$100,000 makeover creates haven for San cancer patients

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Former cancer patient Ted Pender at the opening of the newly transformed atrium garden. Photo: Dora Amuimuia.

A rooftop atrium garden that provides a relaxed and tranquil haven for Sydney Adventist Hospital cancer patients has received a $100,000-plus makeover.

Landscape gardener Matt Leacy, a former co-presenter of Australian TV programs Domestic Blitz and Garden Gurus, was among a team of design, garden and lighting supporters who recently completed the works.

Landscape gardener Matt Leacy.
Landscape gardener Matt Leacy.

“I was honoured to be able to pitch in and do something that hopefully will make a difference,” Mr Leacy said at a special event to celebrate the makeover earlier today.

“My aim was to create a space that gave people a sense of calm, a place they could come with their families, consider where they are at, just feel grounded and feel they are somewhere other than at the hospital.”

With its specially chosen foliage, purpose-built seating, open-plan design and natural light, hospital staff say it provides patients with an escape from their treatment, a place for family and friends to gather and memories to be made.

The project was made possible through contributions by the San Foundation ($36,000) and San Help Team volunteers ($30,000). There were also donations of soil, plants, manpower, seating, lighting and fans.

Morning tea followed the official ceremony at the opening of the atrium garden beautification.
Morning tea followed the official ceremony.

San Help Team volunteer Ted Pender and his late wife Eileen both used the garden as a place of reflection and rejuvenation during their treatments for cancer.

“For me as a patient, it was a lovely place to come, a non-hospital place to get away from the ward,” Mr Pender said.

The garden, which is located in the hospital’s cancer ward, was originally established in 2002 following contributions from private donors.

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