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A patient approach

Girl Scout turns recyclables into a way to provide for cancer patients.

August 18, 2010|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • Melina Thrope, Director of Cancer Services, Glendale Adventist Medical Center, Kristine Locker an Dr. Zerne cut the ribbon at a ceremony on Wednesday, August 11 in celebration of Ingeborg's Place Apart's new location.
Melina Thrope, Director of Cancer Services, Glendale… (La Canada )

What once was a filing room at Glendale Adventist Medical Center is now a second home for cancer patients to rest and relax between appointments.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 11 at Glendale Adventist's Center for Cancer Services celebrated the opening of Ingeborg's Place Apart's new location.

Ingeborg's Place Apart is a room that provides cancer patients with a soothing and supportive environment to relax between appointments, procedures or classes. A wide range of educational materials or specialty image enhancement products like wigs, hats or scarves are available to patients there.

The room was created in 2004 in the memory of Ingeborg Nord Zerne by her friends and family.

"This room allows us to reach that many more patients and provide the services that Ingeborg wanted to see happen, a non-clinical plan to make patients feel whole in mind, body and soul in their journey through cancer," said Teryl MacDougall, positive image coordinator at Glendale Adventist

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Six years later, the room was moved to its new location and has been renovated by Kristine Locker, a Flintridge Sacred Heart senior and Girl Scout who took on the task as part of her pursuit for the Girl Scouts' Gold Award.

"I thought [this project] would be the perfect way to do something for a subject I am so passionate about," Locker said.

Locker gave the room a new look through refurbishing, placing wigs on sconces, repainting it in a soothing sage and purple color palette and providing a flat-screen TV and DVD library for patients to use. She completed updating the room in mid-May and received the Gold Award for her work.

The total cost of the renovation was about $700, which Locker has been in the process of raising for the past three years solely through recycling.

The room was painted in one weekend, and the wall sconces were finished in 10 hours. Locker completed the tough work quickly, alongside her father, without sacrificing quality, MacDougall said.

Layers of meaning were added to the task when Locker's grandmother, Guadalupe Bonnin, was diagnosed with leukemia in January.

"I always had empathy for cancer patients because I had a friend who lost her father to cancer in fourth grade," Locker said. "I had already chosen it as my project, but when [my grandmother] became sick it seemed like the perfect fit for me."

Unfortunately, Bonnin was unable to see the final product as she succumbed to her illness on March 18.

When Locker was finally able to see the room finished, opened and filled with patients, she felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

"The patients go in there and they feel like that is just a place they own and can go anytime," MacDougall said. "They are elated to have a private room to support their causes."

Locker said she's learned a lot through her Gold Award project.

"Through this experience I have learned that different people in different walks of life all come together, united by the same sickness," Locker said. "I just redid a room, but a lot of the patients have told me it made a big difference; sometimes the littlest thing can make the biggest difference."

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