Posted by Meredith Boulter on Jun 08, 2017
Rotary Club of Kalispell Daybreak has been awarded a 2017/2018 District 5390 Matching Grant for our Project: Accessible Gardening Deck for the (CSC). 
The Cancer Support Community (CSC) is a place where you walk through the door as one touched by cancer and instantly become part of something much bigger and much stronger. Through knowledge, support and encouragement, everyone speaks your language. You are not alone on this journey. Newly opened in May 2016, the CSC is already busy providing a full range of support services for youth and adults affected by cancer.
The funding from this Grant will help to build a therapeutic garden accessible to participants of all physical ability levels. 
Imagine if you will.  The sun on your face, the feel of dirt in-between your fingers, watching something you planted take root and flourish – what experience could be more life affirming?  
The concept of therapeutic gardening in the care of cancer patients and survivors is age old.  At the CSC, participants benefit greatly from the opportunity to garden.  One participant brought her children along all last summer, and her therapeutic hobby became a favorite pastime of theirs as well (boys love to play in the dirt).  The CSC garden also provided fresh organic produce to be used in cooking classes offered at the center where cancer patients and survivors learn to feed themselves and their family foods that lower the risk of illness and increase wellness.  But what about participants who cannot bend over to garden?  What about participants who are weak and tired from active treatment?  These are the individuals who could benefit most from even a few minutes of sunshine and “horticultural therapy.”
The project will transform a currently unused outdoor space into a deck that is accessible to participants of differing mobility levels, where they can sit, and tend gardens in raised beds. Research tells us that doing moderate physical activity such as gardening on a regular basis helps to significantly reduce the side effects of cancer and its treatment including depression, fatigue, and decreased strength.  In addition, gardening relaxes people.  It allows them an escape, reduces anxiety, and brings peace of mind.
The completion of this project all CSC participants will have the opportunity to come garden and will be the gift that truly keeps on giving to our community.
Schelene Browning, MSW                                                                 Melissa Hulvat, MD FACS
Director                                                                                                Board Member, CSC Kalispell 
Cancer Support Community (CSC) Kalispell                                   Bass Breast Center