It comes as no surprise that the word unprecedented was selected by the committee of judges at Dictionary.com as “word of the year” for 2020. Meaning “without previous experience or unparalleled, it perfectly applies to what we’ve been facing. Although the unprecedented Covid-19 saga continues, the arrival of the vaccine has given George Mark Children’s House clinical teams and patient families hope for a return to lives less fraught with worry and isolation.
The complex medical diagnoses that bring young patients to George Mark means that their lives have often been restricted: some to a hospital bed for extended periods, others to wheelchairs, and still others to long courses of chemotherapy or rehab. The skilled nursing, social work, and child life teams at George Mark Children’s House make a practice of overcoming limitations to add fun and enticing activities to patient visits. Within the coming weeks, those activities will include trips to a new, fully accessible restorative garden, named Hummingbird Hill. The creation of this garden was one of the most positive collective efforts undertaken by George Mark during the pandemic.
Gardens come with an intrinsic message that says slow down, look around you, believe, and hope. Watching the gradual transformation of Hummingbird Hill to a thoughtfully landscaped, healing garden has offered a sense of optimism and hope throughout the year. As the parcel took shape, a dream of an outdoor sanctuary usable by everyone−our fragile patient population and their families, as well as George Mark staff, volunteers, and friends — turned into an inspirational reality. George Mark nurses also witnessed the curiosity and delight on the faces of our special kids as they sat mesmerized by all of the heavy machinery in action! Hummingbird Hill includes wheelchair accessibility, shaded seating, raised planting beds, a sensory garden, an outdoor kitchen, and art and water features.
George Mark is tranquil and nurturing, a place where families can stay together and spend quality time with their terminally ill children. Rather than the bright lights and noisy quarters of a hospital, they have quiet, comfortable rooms, spacious apartments for families, a sanctuary of gardens, and an outdoor playground with specially equipped play structures for children with both physical and developmental challenges.
Over 50 contractors and suppliers have donated their expertise, labor, and materials to Hummingbird Hill. Additionally, Make It Better Media Group has generously offered a $10,000 matching grant, which will provide dollar-for-dollar matching for all gifts to support George Mark Children’s House and help fund Hummingbird Hill entirely through philanthropy. To each of these individuals and organizations, we extend enthusiastic and enduring gratitude. With their support, and Hummingbird Hill nearly complete, we can say wholeheartedly… let the sun shine in.
George Mark Children’s House is the first free-standing center in the United States devoted to pediatric palliative care. Enjoy this virtual tour of the unique facility and peaceful setting.
Would you consider making a donation to George Mark Children’s House today? Make It Better Media Group will match gifts up to $10,000 through June 30, 2021.
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