Award for cancer patients' garden

A hospital garden transformed by former cancer patients has been given a special award to recognise their work.

The garden at the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff was set up for people who have to spend time in isolation after radioactive treatment. The patients themselves decided to tackle the weeds and plant flowers within a controlled access zone. It has been given this year's Cardiff in Bloom award for a community building garden with limited access.

The hospital's two shielded rooms are used by patients with thyroid cancer following treatment with radioactive iodine. As the hospital's principal physicist for nuclear medicine Sue Hooper explains, they can be in isolation for an extended period.

"They have to stay in those rooms for several days until the radioactivity levels in their body are safe enough to return to their homes and their family members," she said. "Whilst patients can receive meals and are able to have visitors, they can only speak to them through a glass partition, as access around the area has to be restricted. It made it very difficult for the hospital gardeners to maintain the area outside," explains Ms Hooper, "and we ended up with 6ft high weeds and a lot of grass."

Cy Davies from Pontypool, Torfaen, was one of the patients who decided to tackle the garden, having spent several days in isolation at the hospital himself eight years ago.

"You're in the room and you've only got your future to think about following a diagnosis of cancer," Mr Davies explains "Originally we were looking out from the room on to this area which was totally overgrown."

He joined together with other former patients to create Thyroid Cancer Support Group - and set about fundraising.

Source - BBC

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