Memory of Champion gardener to live on
Debbie Ann White always harbored a love and passion for flowers and gardening.
In particular, she adored tulips.
In fact, it was one of White's goals for 2013 to plant tulips on the grounds of Arnold Palmer Pavilion at Mountain View Medical Park in Unity.
The resident of Champion spent so much time there in recent years enduring painful chemotherapy treatments for stomach cancer.
White's pursuit of that goal ended tragically when she died Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, in Excela Health Latrobe Hospital. She was 54.
“Everybody was so heartbroken to learn of Debbie's passing; she made an impact on the patients and staff here and she cared for everyone,” said Katie Kalp, a medical social worker at Excela Health Home Care & Hospice and Arnold Palmer Pavilion. “We were very honored to be part of her care.”
In White's memory, Kalp said she intends to lead the staff at Arnold Palmer Pavilion in keeping up with the garden White planted there late last spring.
“The nurses and I already have plans that, in the spring, we're going to go out there and keep up with Debbie's garden work,” Kalp said. “She was looking to plant tulips there ... it was one of her goals ... so we will do that.”
In June, White had just finished replenishing the landscape surrounding the pavilion along state Route 20 with a variety of flower seeds.
At the time, White, then 53, had just undergone more than one year of chemotherapy at the facility while also enduring several surgeries for stomach cancer.
Employees of the facility reciprocated White‘s largesse over the summer by planting flowers at her home in Champion, where she resided with her husband, Randy.
“Next year, it will look much prettier; I can‘t wait,” said Debbie White at the time.
Soon after that, White learned that her cancer had returned.
Now Randy White said his most ardent hope is that Kalp and the others at Arnold Palmer Pavilion keep their word to make sure his late wife's garden survives there.
“She put a lot of time and effort into making it look good, so my biggest wish is that they don't let it grow back up to what it was,” Randy White said. “If they need some help with doing that, I'd be happy to lend a hand. We're all gonna miss her.”
White's daughter, Sarah Harshman, of Bryans Road, Md., said she shares in the hope of her father that her mother's garden lives on.
“I am very relieved that the staff at Arnold Palmer (Pavilion) is going to keep up with the garden. Mom was so proud and happy to do it for the patients receiving their treatments,” Harshman said. “She felt that, if she lifted just one person's spirits by looking out the window and seeing the beautiful flowers, it was well worth her time. I know Mom will do her best to make the flowers plentiful from heaven.”
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.