A ‘Heroes of Hope’ blue garden shines a light on men’s health and offers inspiration to others affected by cancer at Bord Bia’s Bloom  

 

‘Heroes of Hope ’, created By the Marie Keating Foundation, is designed to offer hope to people affected by cancer and inspiration to men to talk about their health

 A Get Men Talking Blue ribbon wall and bench and the Heroes of Hope exhibition are the stand out features of this thought-provoking garden

Dublin, 1 June 2017. The Marie Keating Foundation today unveiled their blue themed garden – ‘Heroes of Hope’ at Bord Bia’s Bloom.  Inspired by the Heroes of Hope exhibition which features the positive stories of 15 cancer survivors from all around Ireland, the garden has a positive and hopeful message highlighting the fact that thanks to early detection and advances in treatment, more and more men are surviving cancer. In this way the garden aims to continue to shine a light on cancer survivorship and to give hope to others affected by cancer.

The Marie Keating Foundation garden also highlights the Foundation’s men’s health campaign and its work with men. Every year 10,948 men are diagnosed with cancer and the Foundation’s nursing team educates men and women on the signs and symptoms of the common cancers affecting men (prostate; colorectal; lung, skin and testicular cancers) and what steps men can take to reduce their risk of cancer. The garden has flowers in all different shades of blue and a cross-word theme portraying some inspirational words and messages, the key message being one of Hope attributed to the increase in survival rates of cancer. The garden entitled “Heroes of Hope” naturally has a blue colour scheme, which has dark and light shades, reflecting the emotional journey of cancer survivors.

Tony Ward, former Irish rugby international & one of the Heroes of Hope, was diagnosed in 2012 with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Tony commented: “Machoism is a huge fault with men, certainly in this country. Men don’t talk the talk and they certainly don’t walk the walk when it comes to anything health related. We are all very quick to put our car in for a service but we are very slow at doing the same for our bodies. The Marie Keating Heroes of Hope garden is right on the mark, it is designed to offer hope to people affected by cancer and inspire men to talk about their health.”

Sean Boylan, GAA legend & one of the Heroes of Hope commented: “I am one of the lucky ones that came through this experience and it is a powerful place to be. I have great vitality and great energy now. I would tell someone who is newly diagnosed not to be afraid to ask questions and also to believe in themselves. The Marie Keating Foundation do such great work, they have helped so many people. Their men’s health campaign, to get men talking, is vital and from a male patient perspective – one that is badly needed in Ireland.”

 Designer of the garden Paul Dunne said; “The garden has been a wonderful challenge as well as an inspirational project. The focus and challenge is always to get men talking and my hope alongside that of the Marie Keating Foundation is that our “Heroes of Hope” garden will help kick start that conversation”.

The stand out features of the garden are a Get men Talking Blue Ribbon Tribute Wall, a specially created cross-word theme portraying some messages of hope and a waterfall depicting the re-emergence of health after their cancer journey. The original design has contributions from Tünde Szentesi.

 I marvel at the great oncologists who do such great work – it’s not just a job to them. And the Marie Keating Foundation do such great work. They have helped so many people get it off their chest which is vital as the patient perspective and experience is so important. There are also people doing great work in research and treatments are improving all the time. I am one of the lucky ones that came through this experience and it is a powerful place to be. I have great vitality and great energy now. I would tell someone who is newly diagnosed not to be afraid to ask questions and also to believe in themselves. Modern medicine does amazing things but you have to be ready to put in some of your own stuff to the battle as well.

Liz Yeates, CEO of the Marie Keating Foundation said; “The prospect of rebuilding your life after something as significant as cancer can be daunting. But with the right support and information, the experience can provide a renewed sense of life and purpose, enabling people to cherish special life moments that at one point may not have seemed possible. Designing a garden with the focus on cancer survival highlights the additional supports available for cancer patients and survivors such as our Survive & Thrive programme and also pays respect to those who sadly succumb to the disease each year. By hosting a garden at Bloom we hope that visitors to our Heroes of Hope Garden will indeed be inspired by a sense of hope, support and inspiration – particularly those affected by cancer.”

The Heroes of Hope exhibition and the Garden of Hope at Bloom allows us to move the focus away from what is an often scary diagnosis and to continue to highlight the story of survivorship. We would like to express our continued deep and sincere gratitude to all 14 men who so graciously shared their stories and their very personal ‘survivorship milestone’ photographs that inspired the garden you see at Bloom”.

The “Heroes of Hope” garden is number 5 in the show gardens area and as a part of Marie Keating Foundation’s presence at Bloom this year, a nurse and a mobile information unit will be present at the main entrance of Bloom each day. The nurse will be available to speak to men and women about ways to reduce their risk of cancer and how to spot the signs and symptoms of the disease. For those who wish to celebrate or honour someone affected by cancer, they can buy a blue ribbon for €2 which will be attached to the Get Men Talking blue ribbon tribute wall in the garden. Supporters can also text MARIE to 50300 to make a €2 donation* 100% of text cost goes to MKF across most network providers. Some providers apply VAT which means a minimum of €1.63 will go to MKF. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY Helpline: (01) 4433890