We couldn’t have been happier when we picked Josephine’s Garden out of the hat as the winner of our monthly spotlight.
Located at Hackensack University Medical Center, Josephine’s Garden started in 2010 when Josephine Rispoli, a spirited 6-year-old girl, was diagnosed with a rare, malignant high-grade brain cancer– atypical rhaboid tumor (ART). While receiving treatments at HUMC, she and her mother, Heidi Rispoli, wanted to find a place where they could go and not be around all the machines reminding them they were in the hospital.
Josephine longed to go outside like she had prior to becoming ill, but unless she received clearance to leave the pediatric care, there was no possible way she could enjoy fresh air or nature. After one of the several trips to the parking lot to blow bubbles,Josephine and Heidi noticed a spot outside the pediatric area that was a little unkempt; they began discussing and envisioning what it would be like to have a quiet and serene location outdoors, showcasing artwork, bright colors, and a Warrior
Pole dedicated to the memory of those who fought for life.
On October 23, 2011, Josephine lost her battle after a year-long fight. Her family and friends chose to make her dream a reality, and on July 8th, 2012 (what would have been Josephine’s 8th birthday), Josephine’s Garden was opened.
We were honored to display Josephine’s spirit to the world through this video of Heidi telling us about her daughter, and the inspiration behind their Garden.