On 28 May, we were delighted to officially open our Ward 7B Rooftop Garden and welcome the generous supporters whose contributions have made this very special project possible.
Ward 7B is the RMH’s Haematology ward, where some of our most vulnerable patients spend their time.
Back in 2012, the garden was simply a pipe dream. The hard-working and dedicated staff on Ward 7B thought about what they could do to improve the experience of their patients, and it became obvious the dreary, grey concrete area that patients looked out onto was a wasted opportunity.
Following years of fundraising, construction began on the garden in 2017. The project presented several logistical challenges – one of the most pressing was the space needed to cater for the reduced immune system capacity of haematology and bone marrow patients, so the plants had to be artificial.
It also needed to aesthetically mirror the “great outdoors” – giving the patients an opportunity to look at, and spend time in, something peaceful, calming and serene.
The nursing staff set out to get feedback from patients and their families about what the space would mean to them, with one lady remarking she felt concerned for the patients who lose their fight with cancer and have their last view of the outside world being a sad, empty, concrete space – devoid of any comfort.
As Ward 7B Nurse Sarah Maher said, these comments really struck a chord with staff and they campaigned tirelessly until the wheels were in motion.
The garden now represents a calming, welcoming and relaxing space, with one patient commenting that she felt at peace and loved looking at the incredible sculptures.
It was through the generous financial support of several patients, families and corporate partners that this project came to fruition, starting with a gift from the will of the late Miles Hurley, whose family we were delighted to welcome at the launch.
Our corporate partners – Optus, Plan B Services and Brown Baldwin Accountants were instrumental in making the garden happen. We also would have been unable to complete this project without the incredibly generous contribution of the Dry July Foundation.
Thank you also to Ward 7B patient Geoffrey Hamilton and his wife Jan, the Greek Senior Citizens Club, the family and friends of the late Madeline Oakes, and our other wonderful Community Supporters, Meagan Hamilton, Mischa Barr and Silvana Bianchi.
We hope the Ward 7B Garden provides an enriching and positive experience for our most important guests – our patients.