Members of Parkland Health Center’s Patient and
Family Advisory Council pose as their “Tree
of Hope” project is unveiled. The tree was created by
artist Brandon Warren, who is also a radiologic
technologist at Parkland. From left are Christie
Diobrzeniecki, Jimmy McCarver, who donated the
accompanying ship’s bell, Peggy Gillespie, Brandon
Warren, Carol Rigdon, Connie Lee and Bob Lee.
Two new additions in 2013 to Parkland Cancer Center are the Tree of Hope and its accompanying ship’s bell. Located in a prominent position in the expanded and remodeled Cancer Center, the Tree of Hope and ship's bell project were the brainchild of the Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), a group made up of hospital personnel and former patients and their family members. The Council wanted to create a way for oncology patients to symbolize the beginning and end of their treatment; signing the Tree of Hope marks the beginning, and ringing the beautiful bell marks the end of treatment.
The Tree of Hope painting was created by Parkland Health Center’s own radiologic technologist Brandon Warren. Brandon is a long-time artist, and this project became much more than just a painting to him. He immersed himself in the project and wrote a beautifully thoughtful letter to be given to each patient who signs the tree. The original letter is framed and displayed next to his painting. Brandon created the tree with bare branches. Each patient chooses a color of ink and places their thumbprint on a branch of their choice to create a leaf, symbolizing life and hope. The patient then initials or signs and dates the “leaf,” and poses for a photo, which is given to them in a card signed by the oncology staff. The patient is then presented with the letter.
The ship’s bell was contributed by PFAC member and Parkland Health Center volunteer Jimmy McCarver. Jimmy explained that when the Council came up with the idea of having a bell for patients to ring, he happily said, “I have a bell!” Jimmy contributed a beautiful Navy ship’s bell that is a family heirloom. It once belonged to his stepfather, who was a commander in the Navy, and it was a gift to Jimmy from his mother after her husband passed away.
This thoughtful project has been very well received by Parkland’s oncology patients. In its first year, many oncology patients have signed the tree and rung the bell.