“You would think that after 34 years of marriage, I would have known everything there was to know about my wife, Theresa,” says Ralph Germaine. But as he watched her yearlong battle with breast cancer, her inner strength and optimism surprised even him.
While Theresa was hospitalized at Roswell Park, she and Ralph found respite in the peace and greenery of Kaminski Park, in the center of the Roswell campus.
Theresa passed just a year after receiving her diagnosis. Ralph dedicated a tree in Kaminski Park in her name — a fitting gift, he felt, in what he calls a living tribute. It’s just one of several trees he has dedicated in honor of family members lost to cancer.
Ralph has also found this outdoor haven to be the perfect place to make further dedications in the form of bricks and pavers, honoring other loved ones who have passed as well as living family, friends and Roswell Park staff who made a tremendous difference in his wife’s care and continue to touch his life.
“My hope is that others join me in giving back to Roswell Park, a place that has a vision to finally cure cancer once and for all, and help make difference for those fighting today,” he says.
This Earth Day, you, too, can pay tribute to a loved one in this place of peace and life. Purchase a brick, paver, tree or planter in Kaminski Park’s Walk of Life and Gardens of Hope at Roswell Park. Whether you choose to honor a family member, friend, co-worker, health care provider or anyone else, your personal inscription will become a lasting acknowledgment of their meaning in your life — and a permanent part of the gardens.
“There have been people in my life with cancer or other diseases that have fought bravely,” Ralph says. “Some survived; others passed on. The last two years of my life have given me a broken heart for the people I have lost to cancer. Giving back to the living makes life a little more important, as does seeing survivors and family members happy.
“In many ways one person can make a change.”
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