by Amy Lane
The Garden of Hope and Courage is a gift. It is a gift providing inspiration, a gift offering support and encouragement; and a gift for anyone needing or wanting to embrace it. Occupying 2.5 acres on the downtown campus of the NCH Healthcare System in Naples is where you can find this gem. For many, it’s likely not a stop in their daily travels but after one visit it will likely become one. This impressive treasure exists right in our own backyard and there are several individuals responsible. Many live thousands of miles away from our special home of Naples and some just around the corner. They believed in the garden’s mission and objective, designed by a lovely woman named Jan Emfield who had a vision of creating a healing sanctuary for those when they so desperately needed it the most.
Jan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990. She underwent treatment regime typical in the 90’s including radiation, chemotherapy, lumpectomy and mastectomy. Jan’s idea for this so called “Garden of Hope and Courage” came while sitting in her English style backyard garden on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota. She would regularly meet in her garden with fellow cancer patients. They called her garden the garden of courage and it was in that garden that she would jot down notes and ideas for the garden she began to envision – both how it might look but also how it might be used. Jan had been in remission for almost three years when the doctors determined that the cancer had metastasized to her bones.
Jan lost her battle in 1994 but prior to her passing, she communicated her vision of a peaceful sanctuary to her dear friend Richard D’Amico. She shared her garden notes with D’Amico and he was determined to make her vision a reality. After 14 years of planning and fundraising, D’Amico and Jan’s husband Bob Emfield, along with the co-founders of Tommy Bahama, Tony Margolis and Lucio Dalla Gasperina, officially unveiled the garden in October, 2006.
D’Amico led the effort in researching locations and found the Garden’s home on the NCH campus. His passion and desire to make Jan’s dream come to fruition filtered through that of his company, D’Amico & Partners. Leading the movement, D’Amico and its employees raised thousands of dollars through wine dinners, golf tournaments and more both in Minnesota and Naples, in support of Jan’s vision.
Bob Emfield, Tony Margolis and Lucio Dalla Gasperina, tri-founders of Tommy Bahama embraced Jan’s dream as their mission and started raising funds through Tommy Bahama at the corporate level in Seattle, Washington. The garden became a part of their corporate family. In Seattle, employees held bake sales, competed in triathlons, hosted special employee sales as well as created special “Garden of Hope and Courage” merchandise sold during the month of October that was distributed and sold through retail locations and retail partners in cities all over the United States. These items, designed in honor of breast cancer awareness month, included Garden of Hope and Courage candles, diffusers, t-shirts and jewelry. Three times a year still to this very day there is a specialty Men’s Camp Shirt that Jan’s son Gregg selects and through the sale of this special shirt, Tommy Bahama contributes 10 percent back to the Garden of Hope and Courage.
This past June, the garden was lucky to host a tour welcoming 22 of the Tommy Bahama Leadership Team from Seattle. It was an incredibly special tour for the Garden Board of Directors and NCH. Stephanie McKinney, Senior Vice President of Operations has been a part of the Tommy Bahama Family since the very beginning and was part of the team’s recent visit to the Garden.
“The Garden of Hope and Courage is part of our heritage at Tommy Bahama. In the formative years, when we were building the foundation of our company, we also had a tremendous emotional connection to the mission and vision of the Garden. It gave us a higher purpose and it was extremely inspirational for the team to support and
nurture it. Today, in its completion, the Garden represents all that we stand for in our core values. It sits in the center of Naples, Florida, the birthplace of our brand, and
continues to be an influence and inspiration to the employees and leadership of Tommy Bahama,” McKinney said.
Stephanie and her team have been fundamental in making our special garden a reality. The Garden of Hope and Courage is a gift and we are forever grateful to all who made it possible.