Local Eagle Scout devotes time to revamping cancer center’s healing garden as part of servive project

March 1, 2019

SYCAMORE – Matthew Tronc wanted to share an extra ray of sunshine with patients undergoing cancer treatment and did so with the help of students at North Grove Elementary School in Sycamore.

Tronc, 17, a soon-to-be Eagle Scout from Boy Scout Troop 2810, chartered out of Salem Lutheran Church in Sycamore, dedicated the final piece to his Eagle Scout Service Project on Thursday at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital Cancer Center, 10 Health Services Drive. Tronc was joined by a gathering of his fellow scouts, cancer center staff, family and North Grove students.

“I came to the cancer center looking for a project, and I went out into the back into the Healing Garden,” Tronc said, recalling the early days in September, when he first explored doing his Eagle Project at the center. “There was a lot of dead bushes and weed barriers uncovered, and there was a lot of the same color in the garden.”

Tronc was inspired to salvage the Healing Garden and bring it back to life for patients undergoing treatment. The infusion bays where patients receive treatment such as chemotherapy sit in front of floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the garden.

With the support of Winters Nurseries and Landscape Services in Sycamore, Tronc devised a two-part plan to renovate the garden.

He said Winters Nurseries helped him come up with a map for the plan and donated their services, including more than 5 square yards of mulch and 136 perennials, to assist with the project.

With the help of students from North Grove Elementary, Tronc also created 235 healing rocks to be placed in the garden with uplifting messages.

“It’s going to be fantastic in the spring,” said Vanessa Horn Bafia, senior marketing specialist for Northwestern Medicine. “When it’s warmer, people do spend a lot of time [in the garden] taking a break or reflecting with patients and family members.”

Tronc’s teammates from Sycamore High School’s varsity soccer team worked a full day Sept. 22 to outfit the garden with plants. And on Monday, Tronc worked with elementary school students from North Grove to paint colorful rocks that say “we believe” and “stay strong.”

“It was really fun to paint the rocks with Matt,” said Dalton Fahrlander, 10, a fourth-grader at North Grove. “I got to do it with my friends.”

Tronc said he’s happy to spread hope to those who need it most.

“I’m at the part in my life where a lot of my friends are losing their grandparents and family members to different cancers, and I could see it really impacts them,” he said. “People are always in need of hope, love and support, and one thing that really gives people hope is seeing something beautiful like roses or rocks with nice sayings.”