Hospital to add rooftop garden in memory of cancer patient

Local News

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — A boy who died from cancer 13 years ago is having his wish granted. Will Tate was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 13. 

During his treatment, he fell in love with a garden in a hospital in St. Louis. A similar garden will now be coming to Urbana’s Carle Hospital in his memory. 

Even though it’s not the first thing many people thought of when they thought of Will, it played a huge role in bringing him peace while he was sick. 

“Very bright, very quick-witted, loved athletics, and scary movies,” said Will’s mother Melissa Tate. 

It’s been more than a decade, but Will Tate’s mother Melissa Tate, still remembers almost everything about him. 

“He was very determined. Fortunately, his name serves him well because he was very strong-willed.”

She and Will’s father, John, took the journey toward treatment along with him after he was diagnosed with luekemia. As part of that treatment, Will was sent to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. 

“When we were down there, someone suggested that we go to the garden to de-stress and get our space, Will included.”
Before visiting, they didn’t understand what was so special about it, but they changed their minds when they walked inside. 

“When you opened the doors, it was just this beautiful oasis. It was green and living, and it was so different from any hospital you’ve ever been in.”

“We would sit in the hospital with the buzzers and the bells and kids crying, people interrupting him, trying to take vitals and all that. You just don’t realize how it weighs on ya. When he went out there, like I said, that all lifted away,” said John. 

Will passed away just four months after his diagnosis. It became his family’s goal to bring a similar garden to Urbana’s Carle Hospital. 

In 2005, Melissa put a request in with the Employee Giving Committee at Carle for a rooftop garden. Now, 13 years later, they’re making it happen.

“It has been just a very healing project that has been full of gratitude from so many levels from the Tate family, Carle philanthropy, all of Carle employees,” said Carle Center for Philanthropy Annual Giving Manager Lesa Brandt. 

The rooftop garden is a $1.6 million dollar project. Carle is asking for donations to help out. The garden will be on the sixth floor between the North Tower and Parkview building. It will overlook Crystal Lake Park. 

For more information on how to give, click here. 

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