Chicago’s Surprising Cancer Survivors’ Garden

By Thurston Hatcher

I had probably walked by it 30 times without noticing. But after finishing up a run along the Chicago lakefront a few weeks back, I took a path back to Randolph Street that led me past a surprisingly serene corner of Grant Park. Its most striking feature, beyond the lush landscaping and dramatic view down Lake Shore Drive, is a series of illuminated, inspiring messages about cancer.

It’s known as Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Park, and it’s one of at least 24 around the country devoted to motivating people with cancer. Construction and maintenance costs are covered by the R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation.

“By passing daily and seeing the beautiful structures and the sign, ‘Cancer Survivors Park,’ individuals will realize when diagnosed that there is a possibility of surviving and hopefully will try to fight rather than give up,” the Blochs say on their Web site.

All the parks include a “Positive Mental Attitude Walk,” featuring the aforementioned inspirational and information messages. A few examples:

  • “Realize that cancer is a life-threatening disease, but some beat it. Make up your mind you will be one of those who do.”
  • “11,000,000 Americans have been diagnosed with cancer: More than 7 million are considered cured.”
  • “Cancer is the most curable of all chronic diseases.”
  • “Have plans for pleasant things to do and goals to accomplish.”

An adjacent “Road to Recovery” includes bronze plaques with advice for people undergoing treatment.

Here are a view photos from the park, which is in the northeast corner of Grant Park, just off Randolph Street near Lake Shore Drive:

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Thurston Hatcher edits Rush InPerson and the Rush University Medical Center Web site.

One thought on “Chicago’s Surprising Cancer Survivors’ Garden

  1. Thank you for the wonderful and beautiful article on the Chicago Cancer Survivors Parks. The photos of the newly installed signs clearly display the message all cancer patients and their supporters should read. The new signs from the Bloch Cancer Foundation provide ambient and safety lighting at night and the landscaping provided by the Gateway Cancer Research Foundation make this location a must see. The Bloch Cancer Foundation invites anyone who has been touched by cancer to visit this park. If you are going through treatment, it will inspire. If you have completed treatment then it will remind you of your journey and how good it feels to be a survivor.

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