The family of Adam Koslosky, who died of colon cancer in March 2018, has dedicated a garden at Methodist Hospital in his memory. The garden includes seating, foliage and a water feature, and is intended to be a calm and rejuvenating space for patients and staff.
Before the dedication, Adam Koslosky’s grandchildren dropped rocks stamped with their names into the garden’s water feature. Koslosky was on the Methodist Hospital Foundation board for more than 20 years and spent his final 39 days at the hospital.
From left, Erica and Chris Koslosky, Kathy Koslosky and Matthew and Morgan Koslosky in front of the new reflection garden at Methodist Hospital. Adam Koslosky “lived for his family, his grandchildren, for the things that were important,” Kathy Koslosky said.
In his final days battling colon cancer, Adam Koslosky and his family headed outside for fresh air and sunshine. But the only place to gather was near the entrance of Methodist Hospital. The setting was less than ideal. They had to deal with foot traffic and the sound of cars driving by.
After Koslosky died, his wife, Kathy, worked with the Methodist Hospital Foundation to install a reflection garden at the hospital near 84th and Dodge Streets. The garden fills in the green space between the hospital and the employee parking garage.
On Monday, the Koslosky family – along with hospital and foundation officials – dedicated the garden named for the family patriarch. The dedication took place one day after Koslosky’s birthday.
The space, which is wheelchair-accessible, offers seating tucked into a retaining wall, foliage and a water feature.
Koslosky, who died at age 61 on March 18, 2018, was diagnosed with colon cancer in late 2017. He spent three months at home before spending his final 39 days at Methodist.
One of his final requests was to feel the sun on his face and the wind in his hair.
After Koslosky’s death, his wife wanted to offer a place for other patients to spend time outside with their families.
The 45-year-old teacher from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, started chemotherapy treatments when he was diagnosed last year, but in July doctors told him he had only months left to live.
“I found out I was not going to win the fight,” Gjoraas told CNN on Monday.
In July, after teaching for 22 years, he made the tough decision to pack up his classroom at Washington High School and retire to spend more time with his wife and three children. Gjoraas shared the news on social media, and since then, the community has rallied around his family.
“My community has really gone to bat for my family and I over and over and over,” he said.
People organized fundraisers for the family, and most recently a dozen people came over to help paint the outside of his house — something Gjoraas wanted to do for his wife.
Gjoraas, a craft beer enthusiast, said he mentioned the idea to his friend, retired teacher Doug Rinken, over drinks. Gjoraas and his family have lived in the home for more than 20 years and he said it was time for it to be repainted.
“I just asked him if next summer, which I probably won’t be here for, if he can paint it for my wife,” he said.
The Gjoraas family wouldn’t have to wait till next year. Rinken organized about a dozen other teachers and friends to help paint the brown house blue — a color that Gjoraas’ wife, Lisa, picked out.
“You want to help in any way you can, but you know that whatever you do, it isn’t going to be enough,” Rinken told the Argus Leader, the local newspaper, on Saturday. “Even this what we’re doing today, it isn’t going to change anything, but I just hope it makes him feel a little more comfortable. It maybe makes us feel a little better too.”
It took the group a little over half a day to paint the house. Then they cracked open some beers and shared stories.
Gjoraas said he is very appreciative of all the support the community and friends have given his family. He said he is soaking up all the memories he can get with his family and having a beer with friends on days he feels good.
October is all about pink in support of breast cancer awareness. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer. Men also can get it.
What does this have to do with gardening and why are we talking about it in September? Our landscapes are an extension of our homes and a statement to those around us.
Why not honor breast cancer patients and survivors by going pink in your flower beds and getting a head start this month? That way you can show your support and bring awareness to this devastating disease.
Luckily, when it comes to pink, we have many options from which to choose, including plants with pink foliage. Many Louisiana Super Plant selections come in shades of pink.
If you don’t want to make a long-term commitment, place plants in small containers or try planting annuals that can be changed out as the seasons turn.
Both Amazon and Jolt dianthus are excellent Louisiana Super Plant selections for fall that come in an array of pinks. Amazon comes in Amazon Rose Magic and Amazon Neon Cherry, and Jolt comes in Cherry, Pink and Pink Magic. Ranging from delicate pink to hot pink, both can make quite a statement.
These plants have dark green foliage, perform best in full to part sun and are great for attracting butterflies in late fall and early spring. They make great cut flowers that you can share with friends or family members fighting the disease and to help celebrate survivors.
Do you want to go all-in and show your support? Make a big impact with another Louisiana Super Plant, the bright, prolific Supertunia Vista Bubblegum. This mighty petunia is known for its long-lasting bloom season. It spreads, growing up to 3 feet in all directions, with a height of 16 to 24 inches. It prefers full sun to produce the maximum amount of flowers.
If you want something more permanent, try shrubs. Three fall-blooming Louisiana Super Plants with pink flowers are Conversation Piece azalea, Aphrodite althea (rose of Sharon) and Luna hibiscus. All three make excellent shrubs for sunny areas in the lawn and will bloom in the fall, year after year.
Dream roses and Belinda’s Dream roses are both Louisiana Super Plant selections that produce pink blooms in the fall. Belinda’s Dream is another superb cut flower to share with family and friends.
Penny Mac hydrangea is also a Louisiana Super Plant. It’s a repeat-blooming hydrangea that can produce large flower clusters of pink or blue beginning in late spring and continuing to bloom on new growth into the summer and fall. To influence flower color, treat the soil around the bushes with lime and superphosphate in March and again in October each year. Your soil should be a pH of 7-8.5 to achieve the pink color. It may take years for the shift to pink to occur if your plant typically blooms blue.
One man has taken his grief and turned it into new life as he has planted a garden to honor his daughter and wife who both passed away. Tony Brawner endured two heartbreaking losses. First, the passing of his daughter, Amy, from cancer when she was just 14 years old in 1997. Then, 12 years later, Brawner lost his wife.
He planted Amy’s Garden just last year to help him cope but now the sunflowers are now helping comfort Tony’s community.
About 40 people a day come by “Amy’s Garden” in Tennessee.
“I don’t want to be bitter, I have been at times, I’m not gonna deny that,” he admitted to Inside Edition Digital.
The garden was one way for him to process his loss and keep his loved ones close but also helping others enjoy the flowers with his daughter as the part of nature coming from the ground and her mom always close by as the butterfly in the area.
“I have a lot of faith and trust God’s plan is the way to go,” he said.
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The finish line is in sight for a Nova Scotia couple who have spent the last two and a half years working to create Atlantic Canada’s first garden for cancer survivors.
Judie and Jim Edgar are both cancer survivors.
Judie was diagnosed with breast cancer twice, in 2003 and in 2013, and Jim was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2017. Both have recovered.
Judie said the Daffodil Garden for Cancer Survivors is meant to show people that a cancer diagnosis isn’t necessarily a death sentence.
“When you hear the word ‘cancer’, you think of people who didn’t survive,” she said. “You read it in newspapers, you hear from family and friends. Even the park benches have plaques.
“But there’s so many survivors out there like Jim and I who are surviving and thriving that we just thought it would be a very wonderful message.”
Jim said the term “survivor” also extends to the friends and family of people who have had cancer.
“They were there to comfort, to talk to, to go to treatments with them. They’re survivors in their own right as well,” he said.
“Although they haven’t experienced cancer firsthand, they’ve experienced it secondhand from the person they’ve been doing the journey with.”
Judie said doctors and health-care workers are included as well, because they’ve worked with people who have both survived and didn’t survive cancer. “It’s got to be tough on them,” she said.
She said she was inspired by similar gardens in Ontario while she was living in Mississauga during her first round with breast cancer.
‘Everybody has their own story’
The garden is in downtown Dartmouth, along the harbour walk near the Alderney ferry terminal, and offers a scenic view of the Halifax harbour.
Judie said she didn’t want it to be near a hospital or treatment centre, since survivors and people with cancer already spend a lot of time at hospitals.
The concrete path winding through the garden is in the shape of a cancer awareness ribbon. At the centre of the ribbon stands a statue depicting a boy, a middle-aged woman and an elderly man, showing that cancer doesn’t discriminate.
The three figures are all connected in some way: the woman at the centre has her arms around the other two, and the old man and the boy are holding hands.
“One of the things that we’ve found in this journey is that cancer’s become such a connector,” Jim said, explaining why the figures are connected.
“Everybody has their own story, either personal, or a family member, or whatever.”
The project was supported by all three levels of government, and funding came in the form of a grant from the provincial department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, money from municipal district capital funds, and a grant