HACKENSACK, N. J. — Hackensack University Medical Center recently unveiled Josephine’s Garden, a new rooftop garden on the fifth floor of the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. The garden was created in honor of Josephine Rispoli, a brain cancer patient who passed away eight months ago from a rare, malignant brain tumor.
Josephine’s Garden will serve as a haven for pediatric patients at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. The garden, designed by Josephine and her mother, Heidi, features a climbing rock, wishing fountain, some of Josephine’s artwork and a “Warrior Pole,” a large, carved tree trunk with intricately carved angel wings and a crown of copper made for the children fighting cancer — the warriors. Patients may carve their name into the pole as a symbol of the brave fight with cancer.
More than $165,000 has been raised for Josephine’s Garden; the funds will be used to directly benefit children in the hospital rather than offsetting costs, since the garden’s expenses were donated.
“Everything in this garden is here for a reason, the color scheme, the frogs, the Warrior Pole – they are all part of Josephine’s vision and I never could have imagined that her actual artwork and sketches would be embedded in this garden forever,” said Heidi Rispoli.
More than 15 companies, including Plaza Construction, donated the in-kind expenses to the first phase of Josephine’s Garden. The next phase involves the construction of an awning. For more information, visit HackensackUMCFoundation.org.