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RI Garden Club Donates Greenery to Women & Infants Oncology Dept

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Members of the Chatham Village Garden Club of Warwick were recently on hand to oversee the installation of a planting in the lobby of the Program in Women’s Oncology at Women & Infants Hospital. Pictured from left are: Carol Lukowski, Gail Hatfield, and Janice Marcello, all Warwick residents

When Carol Lukowski went for acupuncture in the building housing the Program in Women’s Oncology and Breast Health Center at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, the lobby area seemed dreary and drab to her.

“It needed life,” she says simply of the building at One Blackstone Street. “Environment is so important for healing. Just seeing something alive can make you feel better.”

A member of the Chatham Village Garden Club in Warwick, Lukowski, a city resident, suggested that the club do something about the situation. Recently, she and two other club members were on hand for the installation of a long indoor planter containing towering King Maya indoor palms, variegated pothos and bromeliad. The palm fronds reach five feet along the wall of windows that face an old highway off ramp.

“Research has shown that people treated in a place that is neat, clean and attractive feel better,” adds Janice Marcello, another club member. “This is just something we thought we could do (for cancer patients) that would help during their treatment.”

A location for women to heal

Cornelius “Skip” Granai III, MD, director of the Program in Women’s Oncology, agrees.

“What we try to create within the walls of this building is a unique location for women to heal. That means providing such things as music, poetry and an environment that is comfortable and visually soothing,” he says. “We appreciate the help of the Garden Club in reinforcing our philosophy of healing.

Gail Hatfield, who was treated herself at the facility several years ago, said seeing bright floral arrangements on the admitting desks would make her smile. In the future, timed around construction at One Blackstone to create the Program’s new Infusion Center and Integrative Care Program facility, she says the club will also plant about 20 rose bushes along the side of the building.

“It’s your first impression of a place and roses stand for caring and love,” she adds.

Bringing blooms to Women & Infants

The indoor planting – coordinated with Plant Interiors Inc., of Greenville – was done with club funds. The group is thinking about fundraisers and soliciting donations for future work, Lukowski says. In the meantime, about 10 club members will rotate watering duties in the lobby at One Blackstone where the north-northeast light exposure is “perfect” for their choice of plants.

The planting at Women & Infants was undertaken through the garden club’s Civic Beautification Committee, which has done plantings at municipal buildings in Warwick.

“This is the culmination of something that’s in your head for years and it finally just happens,” Lukowski says with a smile at the lush greenery.


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