Auxiliary Donates $50,000 to “The Great Gray Wall” Project

July 05, 2018 By Kim Conrad

Every October, the Auxiliary Board reviews proposals for our annual Fall projects.  This year one particular project stood out. It was a touching story about a mother and daughter who were both diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and both treated at Hartford Hospital’s Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center.

Great Gray Wall project

Mary Lowengard, who lives and works in New York City, grew up in West Hartford, CT and would return to the area to visit family.  In September 2016, Mary returned to West Hartford to accompany her mother to Hartford Hospital for chemo therapy to treat her Ovarian Cancer diagnosis.  Little did Mary know that three months later, she would receive the same cancer diagnosis as her mother. Mary decided to return to the Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center for her treatment. Having been by her mother’s side for the previous few months, Mary knew exactly what to expect as she started her treatment. 

Like her mother, Mary watched the seasons change during her treatments, but was always bothered by the gray concrete wall she would see when looking outside the infusion room windows.  The night before surgery, Mary emailed Dr. Peter Yu, Physician-in-Chief for the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, a proposal to transform the “gray” wall. To Mary’s surprise, Dr. Yu responded to her email within two hours and “The Great Gray Wall” project was born. With support from hospital administration, Mary began a grass roots campaign to transform the gray wall into a beautiful, uplifting mural depicting the four seasons in their most beautiful state.  She wanted the beauty of the wall to evoke peace, joy, and healing for the cancer center patients, families, and staff. Mary successfully raised enough funds to get phase 1 of her project off the ground, but more fundraising was necessary to complete the project. 

In October, Mary shared her inspirational story with the Hartford Hospital Auxiliary Board.  After hearing her touching story, the Auxiliary Board voted unanimously to make a special donation of $50,000 to “The Great Gray Wall” project.  With this gift, Mary and an artist were able to complete the first phase of the project.  The Auxiliary is very proud to be able to fund this special project and happy that the wall is complete and brightening the lives of many patients every day. 

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