The Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer & Hematology Clinic Gets a Native Landscaping Project

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The most visible feature in the atrium will be a fountain made from a 6000-pound limestone boulder, which was strategically placed in full view for the children to enjoy while undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

The PSJA School District lends their Staff to guide the Master Naturalists to create a healing butterfly garden at the Clinic

Mega Doctor News

McAllen, Texas – The South Texas Border Chapter Texas Master Naturalists proudly launched a unique and native landscaping project at the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer & Hematology Clinic. The PSJA School District also volunteered staff to guide the Master Naturalists in creating a healing butterfly garden in the chemotherapy area atrium, the first phase of the project.

Prior to the opening of the Vannie Cook Clinic in 2001, children with cancer in this region lacked access to treatment locally. Instead, they had to travel to San Antonio, Houston or Corpus Christi for their treatment, a hardship physically, emotionally and financially for them and their families.

The Clinic was created through a joint effort of the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Cancer Foundation Inc., Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Children’s Cancer Center. Its goal is to ensure that local children who suffer from cancer and blood diseases receive the most up-to-date care and treatment without the need to leave the region.

“For many years, we have had a desire to update and beautify the landscaping and grounds at Vannie Cook, but all of our funding has been directed to providing care and treatment to the thousands of children who have been seen here. But thanks to the great vision, and generosity, of the members of the local chapter of Master Naturalists, our patients, their families, and our staff, will be able to enjoy the beauty of native plants, butterflies and hummingbirds,” said Laura Martinez Ilgun, Executive Director of the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Cancer Foundation.

The new landscaping project will also serve to provide educational and outreach services aimed at the better management of natural resources and natural areas within our community.

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The most visible feature in the atrium will be a fountain made from a 6000-pound limestone boulder, which was strategically placed in full view for the children to enjoy while undergoing chemotherapy treatments.  “It’s impressive, but would not have been possible without the incredible generosity of Mobile Crane Service in Pharr. It was a major undertaking for the company and they donated many hours of time, labor and even purchased the boulder. “All for the kids!,” said Jim Shawn, co-owner of Mobile Crane.  The PSJA School Districts Grounds Construction Department was also very instrumental in guiding the project. We would like to thank them for their time spent here and also for recognizing the multitude of values of creating native habitat educational gardens on school campuses,” continued Ms. Ilgun.

The South Texas Border Chapter Texas Master Naturalists mission is to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the State of Texas.