Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley Awards District Grant to The Healing Garden
A special, joint meeting of the Rotary Clubs of Acton-Boxborough and Nashoba Valley was held to celebrate a Rotary District Grant to The Healing Garden in Harvard.
Margaret Koch, the Healing Garden’s executive director, began with a brief overview of their work. The Healing Garden was established fifteen years ago by Bill Thurston, in memory of his wife, Virginia, who contracted, and eventually died, of breast cancer. She used integrative care to improve her outlook and quality of life. Immersion in nature provides parallels, in the rise and fall of the sun, the coming and going of the seasons, plants that grow and flourish. “We believe that the intersection of mind and body is where we can find what the body can do best,” she said.
The Garden offers support groups, 35 therapists provide acupuncture, massage, shiatsu, and other methodologies to help reduce stress and reduce the side effects of toxic treatments. Group therapies are also available, offering arts, sound therapy, and movement. The goal isn’t necessarily to heal the disease, as to make the person whole as she (or he) moves through it.
The Healing Garden is a nonprofit organization. Every dollar spent needs to be raised through philanthropy. They earn no income from clients; they fundraise all year long for a $375,000 annual budget. They’re unable to bill for services. Medical students are now being trained in integrative care—that patients need more than just treatment for the disease. But policy makers are slow to recognize the progress that the Healing Garden sees every year. Eventually, however, integrative care will be a standard, covered by insurance.
Clients come from 165 communities in Massachusetts. There is no other center like it. Some hospitals offer some of the same services, but people are reluctant to go back to the hospital. Over a thousand people, including family members, have been served.
Nanci Bishop, director of development, spoke about the $3,000 District Grant that The Healing Garden received from the Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley. Creation of a new video will be useful in helping them to tell their story and to help other interested parties to contribute to this work. They’ve identified a videographer, and they expect to have the finished product by November, featuring a tour of the location and interviews with people who have been helped.