Red Cross Children’s Hospital Receives Labyrinth
Children in the Oncology Unit at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital have received a gift of hope: a donation of a labyrinth from the Commins Family Trust. The labyrinth was officially handed over to the hospital during a small ceremony held at the hospital on 3 October 2014.
Labyrinths date back to prehistoric times and are perceived as a sacred space. Its design consists of a single path that leads to the centre and back out again, viewed as a metaphor for life’s journey, and used throughout the world as meditative and healing tools.
The project, first proposed more than a year ago, has been a dream of Cherie Commins and the first of their labyrinth donations they have planned at other locations around Cape Town.
She explains the reason for the donation: “Life is full of twists and turns and our journey is rarely one straight path. Unexpected events can take us in directions that may surprise and even stress us. It is our hope that the patients, their parents, and staff members will make use of the labyrinth to quiet their minds, release stress and elicit insights to find rest, renewal and a remembrance of our purpose for living. “
At Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital they believe that physical and emotional healing work simultaneously. The diagnosis of childhood cancer is one of the most intense, disruptive and enduring experiences that parents can have - often unexpected and life-threatening. Medical treatment can interfere with the entire family’s normal activities and routines for long periods of time, which often puts families under severe stress.
Labyrinths are thought to enhance right brain activity and uses include problem solving, conflict resolution, walking meditation and stress management. The American Cancer Society states that labyrinths “may be helpful as a complementary method to decrease stress and create a state of relaxation.”
The labyrinth, created by Terry de Vries from Earth Spirit Quest, is situated in the garden outside of the Oncology Unit and provides a number of seating areas for people to sit and reflect, making the time spent at the hospital a bit more bearable.
Prof. Alan Davidson, Head of Haematology and Oncology at Red Cross war Memorial Children’s Hospital, said: “We would like to thank the Commins Family Trust for their generosity and for choosing Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, specifically the Oncology Unit, as the recipient of this donation.”
• The World Wide Labyrinth Locator, www.labyrinthlocator.com, an online database, lists over 4 300 labyrinths around the world.
• Dr Herbert Benson of the Harvard Medical School found that a labyrinth walk helps the body with long-term health benefits: lower blood pressure, less chronic pain and people sleep better. Case studies with cancer patients showed that those who walk the labyrinth react favourably to chemotherapy.