Making a difference in the lives of others

Don and Kathy Tendick encourage visitors to attend a garden open house on Saturday, July 27, from 9 a.m to 12 p.m. Take a virtual tour by clicking here.

Patients and visitors at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center have a peaceful, tranquil retreat thanks to the generosity and vision of dedicated donors. Don Tendick, Jr. served as the chairman of the committee that undertook the challenge of designing the gardens and raising the funds necessary to complete the project.

“When you walk into the garden, you get a fresh feeling of living plants, a view of Lake Michigan, the downtown skyline and Miller Park. It takes your mind off of why you’re in the hospital,” says Don. “It provides a relaxing place to collect your thoughts, say a prayer.”

Designed with ideas from patients and caregivers, the healing garden adds another element to patient care – emotional and spiritual relief. This space brings beauty and solace to our patients throughout their hospital stay.

Don and his wife, Kathy, are passionate about the healing garden and what it means for Aurora St. Luke’s.

“We consider it an honor that we could work on this project. We need to give back to St. Luke’s and Aurora Health Care because of the great health care our family has received over the years,” says Kathy. Three generations of the Tendick family have supported this facility, including Don’s parents, Donald Sr. and Rosemary, and Don and Kathy’s sons, Kyle and Donald III (Trace) and his wife, Katie.

“The best thing is when you come in and see people sitting in the garden. It’s such a wonderful feeling that we could be a part of this,” adds Kathy.

According to Don, the project began on paper nearly 10 years ago. “Now, it’s a finished garden that is just a wonderful place that’s enjoyed by everyone, including caregivers, visitors and, most importantly, the patients,” he explains, adding that it’s often used for rehab, relaxation or as a place just to catch a breath of fresh air.

“In 2003, we spent some time at this hospital. And we realized there was a need for a place for people to go to get away from the whole hospital scene. It had to be a peaceful place. We were shown some very preliminary plans and when we left the hospital that day, we knew it was a project we needed to endorse,” adds Kathy.

The original plans called for an outdoor garden almost exclusively, but Don and the committee members advocated for a larger area that could be enjoyed 365 days a year. Access to both an outdoor space and the enclosed conservatory accomplished that goal. “We achieved this with the help from donors who gave so much to make this garden a reality. This project was 100 percent donor-driven and supported,” Don emphasizes.

Donations are always needed to maintain a facility of this nature. Just like the hospital, there’s always a need for more support. As you wander through the garden and look at the bricks and read the different sayings – every brick tells a story. And some of the verses and sayings are so beautiful. An engraved brick is just one way to remember a loved one, honor a dear friend or celebrate one of life’s great moments.

To make a gift to commemorate the 5th Anniversary of the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation Healing Garden and the Agnes and Morland Hamilton Healing Conservatory, please contact Bridgette Frommell at 414-649-3636.

About Tyler Curtis

Tyler Curtis is the Donor Communications Specialist with Aurora Health Care Foundation. Ms. Curtis develops feature articles that showcase Aurora’s programs and services and promote the organization’s commitment to the health and wellness of patients in the communities where we serve.
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