HUNTSVILLE, Ala., October 11, 2011 – Today three brave women along with their families, friends and members of the Huntsville community, joined together to celebrate life at the fall dedication of the Intergraph® Garden of Hope. The event marked the eleventh Garden of Hope dedication since its inception in 2006.
Since Intergraph and the Huntsville Botanical Garden first partnered in 2006, the Garden of Hope has served as an artistic and cathartic sanctuary filled with beautiful flowers, plants, trees and shrubs that represent each of the honorees’ personal fight against cancer. The honorees are granted the creative freedom to express their struggles with the disease with the help of Intergraph volunteers, their friends and family, while also raising cancer awareness in the community.
“The three courageous people we honor today have shown great perseverance and strength in the face of this terrible disease,” said John Graham, president, Intergraph Security, Government and Infrastructure. “Through their symbolic gardens and their inspirational stories, we are reminded that hope can transcend all adversity. “
Held in the spring and fall of each year, the Garden of Hope is a peaceful refuge where cancer survivors can convey their hopes, fears, dreams and experiences in a meaningful way. The emotional inspiration that the brave honorees lend to their gardens is what makes Garden of Hope a singularly moving experience.
Fall 2011 Intergraph Garden of Hope Honorees:
You wouldn’t know Cristina Boudah was sick by her bubbly personality. Perhaps her five children help her forget she’s supposed to slow down, but most who meet her account her positive demeanor to something more divine.
Cristina was nine months pregnant when she felt a lump on her right breast. She initially accounted the mass to blocked ducts, but 12 weeks after giving birth, Cristina had a biopsy performed to be sure. In July 2010, Cristina was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer – the same disease her mother, Vivian Nelson, battled a decade earlier.
As knee-bucking as the word “terminal” sounded, Cristina faced her affliction like a warrior. She remembered reading 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 in her Bible, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God.” When most would ask for alleviation of disease, Cristina asked her church family at Twickenham Church of Christ to give thanks for her cancer. Cristina’s faith in God’s purpose became stronger than her cancer.
Cristina admits her hardest struggle is missing out on her children’s daily lives. “The younger ones want to know why mommy can’t do what she used to do, like go to soccer games or school plays,” she lamented. “That part is hard because to them, I’m still Mom.” Despite Cristina’s limitations, she hasn’t been absent of help. Immediately following her diagnosis, Cristina’s church family scheduled five months of at-home meal delivery, community members arrived to help clean her home, and strangers from out of state sent her words of encouragement in the mail.
Cristina’s vibrant zest for life remains unabated by cancer, and her positive outlook was recently mirrored with positive news. The largest mass in her lungs, previously 6.2 centimeters, shrank 2 centimeters and 50 percent in volume. For her garden, Cristina selected purple and white peonies; purple to represent February (her mother’s birth month), and white to represent hope. Sage is planted for its reminiscent smell of her grandmother’s cooking, and pink tulips will bloom in spring as a symbol for a breast cancer cure.
Cristina’s family includes her husband Donald and her five children: Cameron, Jason, Emma, Levi, and Phoebe. When asked what she wanted her garden visitors to remember, Cristina responded, “It’s okay to cry about your situation, but it’s not okay to stay there. Remember you’re living with cancer; you aren’t dying from it.”
In March 2010, Cheryl Gorringe’s chronic headaches didn’t seem to be cause for worry. Cheryl contributed these afternoon outbursts to stress, but by September, the afternoon headaches intensified and she began having random blackouts. Cheryl tried several methods to alleviate the pain, but none seemed to ease the pounding pressure.
On September 15, Cheryl’s mother visited her home in Melbourne, Australia, after her concerned son noticed Cheryl’s slurred speech during a phone conversation. While her mother was visiting, Cheryl had another blackout and was rushed to Royal Melbourne Hospital. The following day, the doctors delivered debilitating news. Cheryl had a four centimeter mass behind her right eye. The doctors immediately began surgery to remove the tumor, capturing all but a few cells attached to the lining of the brain wall.
Cheryl thought the operation was the end to her struggles, but throughout the next year, her cancer traveled from one area of her body to another. Doctors discovered a 4.3 centimeter carcinoma on her lung shortly after her brain surgery. While her month-long chemotherapy and radiation treatments reduced the tumor, doctors found another cancerous mass on her L5 vertebra. Cheryl has undergone several intensive treatments, and her spine is currently healing, but doctors recently found a spot on her hip that required more radiotherapy in July 2011.
Cheryl’s biggest struggle throughout her journey was learning to ask for help from others. “I’ve always been fiercely independent and private,” said Cheryl, “But with the steadfast support from my partner George, my family, and my friends, I was able to push through each adversity.”
Cheryl has been working as a receptionist at Intergraph Australia for seven years. “I would like to give a special thank you to Intergraph for their strong support and a thank-you to my boss, Michael Greentree, who provide wonderful understanding and encouragement,” she stated. Cheryl’s cat, Bella, has also been her constant companion throughout her journey.
In homage to Cheryl’s home country, her garden incorporates native Australian plants. She selected her favorite flower, a blooming rose bush, and surrounded it with colorful pansies and spring tulips.
Cheryl hopes her experience will encourage others to talk about their illnesses. “Sharing your experience with others helps you know you’re not alone. Be positive and don’t dwell on the inevitable. Always look toward the future.”
In preparation for a routine sinus operation, Jayne Sales underwent standard blood work at her doctor’s office. The results, however, were anything but standard. Jayne was notified that she had severe anemia and immediately began taking iron supplements to raise her red blood cell count. With the supplements, the doctor was able to perform Jayne’s sinus operation, but after weeks of nausea following surgery, Jayne quit taking the prescribed iron.
Fatigued from anemia, Jayne went back to the doctor for further tests in December 2007. After performing a colonoscopy, her doctor discovered the root cause of her anemia – a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) – a rare, ulcerated tumor on her stomach that was bleeding internally. For the second time, Jayne underwent surgery, this time to remove the cancerous tumor draining her body of strength.
During the next year, Jayne took oral chemotherapy treatments that caused swelling, nausea, and fatigue. Jayne didn’t let this slow her down, however. She worked her normal shifts at PPG as a quality inspector, remained active in church, and continued to do the hobbies she enjoyed, such as cooking, photography, and gardening.
Her journey with this disease was not over, unfortunately. In January 2010, after advice from her doctor, Jayne met with a dermatologist to examine a mole on her back that was growing in size. The results were not as Jayne had hoped – she was diagnosed with melanoma. Fortunately, due to her diligence, doctors were able to remove the mole in its first stages.
Jayne is currently cancer-free and has completed all of her oral chemotherapy treatments. Jayne’s hardest struggle was dealing with the uncertainty cancer brought into her life, but her husband, Ron, her family, her church, and her strong faith in God gave her the strength to overcome this disease. Quite the gardener herself, Jayne’s Garden of Hope includes a mix of violas and purple pansies – both delicate, yet strong and winter hardy. Jayne also selected thyme as a symbol of courage, and sage for healing and long life. These herbs represent Jayne’s love for cooking.
Jayne’s cancer journey taught her to be vigilant and listen to her body. She shared, “Sickness teaches you to never take things for granted. Don’t take the signs of your body for granted. If you notice something suspicious, get it checked.”
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About Huntsville Botanical Garden
Huntsville Botanical Garden is open year-round and features a magnificent 110 year–old dogwood, picture perfect aquatic garden, a spectacular wildflower and nature trail, and numerous specialty gardens and plant collections. The 112–acre Garden is a privately operated 501(c)(3) non-profit organization garden which receives a majority of its support from Garden members, supporters and corporate donors. With over 7,000 member families and 1,500 volunteers, the Huntsville Botanical Garden is truly the community's Garden.
Intergraph is the leading global provider of engineering and geospatial software that enables customers to visualize complex data. Businesses and governments in more than 60 countries rely on Intergraph’s industry-specific software to organize vast amounts of data to make processes and infrastructure better, safer and smarter. The company’s software and services empower customers to build and operate more efficient plants and ships, create intelligent maps, and protect critical infrastructure and millions of people around the world.
Intergraph operates through two divisions: Process, Power & Marine (PP&M) and Security, Government & Infrastructure (SG&I). Intergraph PP&M provides enterprise engineering software for the design, construction, operation and data management of plants, ships and offshore facilities. Intergraph SG&I provides geospatially powered solutions to the public safety and security, defense and intelligence, government, transportation, photogrammetry, and utilities and communications industries. Intergraph Government Solutions (IGS) is an independent subsidiary for SG&I’s U.S. federal and classified business.
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