The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

July 7, 2013

Water feature at hospital healing garden dedicated for former Rock Creek resident

CHARDON — A water feature in the new courtyard healing garden at University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center was dedicated, Monday, to former Rock Creek resident Mary Ellen Blaha.

Blaha, who died suddenly in 2011, was a breast cancer survivor and the nurse coordinator at the hospitals UH Seidman Cancer Center Facility.

“Mary had a long career at the hospital,” said M. Steven Jones, president of UH Geauga Medical Center. “She was a dedicated nurse who worked closely with cancer patients as well as orthopaedic patients early in her career. She was considered family by our staff.”

The water feature dedication event officially completed the renovation of the courtyard healing garden, which is adjacent to patient floor 1 south and the hospital’s Orthopaedic Center. The garden had been in various planning stages for several years.

Its construction was fast-tracked following Blaha’s passing in 2011 and was completed as a result of coordinated fundraising efforts by UH Geauga Medical Center, the Blaha family and community donors including the Lisa and Bob Forino family and Phyllis Mihalic. The Mary E. Blaha Memorial Fund made a donation toward the water feature itself.

“It’s incredible to see our vision become reality, and know that we’re able to now use the garden in so many positive ways,” said Alan Graham, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant of UH Geauga Medical Center.

Graham, along with Blaha, was a longtime proponent of the healing environment.

“The garden represents an opportunity to bridge the clinical and home environments, and offer patients and visitors a space that’s familiar, natural and life-affirming,” Graham said. “In addition to our patients using the space for physical, occupational and behavioral therapy, autistic children from area schools are coming in with their job coaches to work the landscape.”

The new water feature consists of a fountain with a two-sided waterfall and reflecting pool.

“Mary would have wanted the water to be heard and be more spectacular than a typical backyard fountain, and that’s what the hospital’s staff and leadership wanted to give to her and her family,” Graham said. “The water feature is a destination for patients and visitors.”

Augmenting that destination in the 50-foot X 70-foot garden are picnic tables, a planting table, raised flower beds, rocks and a mountain meadow-style terrain designed to engage and challenge patients of all ages on their path to recovery. Future enhancements include low-voltage lighting and an in-ground watering system.

“Mary loved the garden and was excited about what was happening there,” Graham said. “The realization of this garden and water feature dedication truly was a collaboration between UH Geauga Medical Center, the Blaha family and our community. Now we have a beautiful healing environment that people have the opportunity to touch and that touches people in return.”

Text Only
Local News
Canoe Race and Ashtabula Easter Events
Good Friday Cross Walks and Easter Egg Hunts
Spring Comes Alive
Ashtabula Spring Cleaning
The Taping of the Teacher: A sticky Sitation
Saturday Fun in Ashtabula County March 22, 2014
American Red Cross Ashtabula County Heroes Breakfast
Rotary Club Dodge Ball Tournament
18th Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Geneva State Park
End of year weather extremes
Christmas 2013
Harpersfield Barn Fire
Route 11 Rescue Plymouth Township
Ashtabula Fire
House Ads
AP Video
NDN Video
Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes