Erie County Tribute Garden honors domestic violence victims, survivors

On Saturday a celebration of the Tribute Garden’s fifth anniversary will be held. A poem will be unveiled on the stone steps of the berm.

TONAWANDA, N.Y. — Erie County’s Tribute Garden in Isle View Park is believed to be the first of its kind on public land. II’s designed to raise awareness around domestic violence while honoring victims and survivors.

Karen King of the Erie County Status of Women Commission there garden is “also a space where you can gather information through our kiosk and information about resources that are available in our community, if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and needs help.”  

According to the the National Coalition against Domestic Violence “domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse.”

On Saturday a celebration of the Tribute Garden’s fifth anniversary will be held. A poem will be unveiled on the stone steps of the berm.

It’s a true community project from beginning to end.

Cornell cooperative extension master gardeners offer service learning opportunities for for middle and high school  students.

“We believe it’s been instrumental in exposing the problem and also teaching young people what they can do if they know someone who is impacted by domestic violence and the resources that are available. it also helps d to support a program called teen relationship violence awareness program,” King said.

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Tribute to hope: Atlantic Canada’s first garden for cancer survivors almost finished

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.”

The entry points to the ribbon-shaped paths will have names. (Alex Cooke/CBC)

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 people in the statue, sculpted by artist Ivan Higgins of Concrete Creations, are from different generations to show that cancer doesn’t discriminate. (Alex Cooke/CBC)

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

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