On May 24, 2022, Le Bonheur celebrated the grand opening of Le Bonheur Green: a nearly two-acre green space on the hospital’s front lawn. For the Krull family, this grand opening is more than a decade in the making.
In 2011, Erik Krull paced up and down the sidewalk along Memphis’ busiest street. The hot June sun beat down on him as he pushed a wheelchair holding his wife, Kate, and comatose 8-year-old daughter, Lucy, over cracked sidewalks. After spending 20 months in and out of hospitals, Lucy was tragically losing her battle with brain and spine cancer. Her doctor encouraged the Krulls to go outside and get Lucy fresh air.
“Having green space and open space is essential for our overall health and well-being and even more so during times of stress and crisis,” said Jason Yaun, MD, clinical director of ULPS General Pediatrics. “Green spaces are linked to better health outcomes, giving patients and families a place for relaxation and stress relief.”
But without a green space for families to utilize at Le Bonheur, the Krulls turned to the sidewalks of the busy Memphis medical district. They planned Lucy’s funeral as they walked back and forth along the busy streets. But then a miracle happened.
After seven days in a coma, Lucy woke up and made an extraordinary recovery. It was this experience outside that prompted the Krulls to give families at Le Bonheur the gift of an outdoor space that would provide healing and hope.
Through a gift to the hospital, the process to create Le Bonheur Green began.
To be able to feel the sunshine, even if you’re in a wheelchair or have an IV pole, is a small slice of normal life for a child in the hospital. For kids to hear birds chirping, cars driving by, and feel the fresh air on their face is a reminder that life has not stopped because they are in a hospital bed. Rather, it is a reminder that 'All of this will still be there when I’m able to go home and the rest of the world is waiting for me.'
Le Bonheur Green includes a pavilion for families to enjoy fresh air in the shade, a serenity garden with unique works of art and a wind chime instillation playing a tranquil melody as the breeze blows. A labyrinth will provide a walking path for families and an iris garden brings nature closer to the hospital.
“This will be a tremendous benefit for our patients, families and staff,” said Yaun. “As we look toward our mental and emotional health, places and spaces like this and the time spent there are so valuable in protecting and promoting our wellness. I’m looking forward to our patients and families using Le Bonheur Green — and also using it myself!”
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