Planting Art as Inspiration for Breast Cancer Patients

Planting Art as Inspiration

New Arrivals in the Marian and Hans Kretsch Meditation Gardens

During the construction of Ann’s Place, one of oncologist Dr. Marc Rappaport’s patients, a realtor who was fighting breast cancer, spoke to him about a property she was brokering in Greenburg, New York.  An estate was being liquidated in advance of a new subdivision.  Debra Tricarico (pictured left), who was with Houlihan Lawrance in Westchester County, was being treated at Danbury Hospital.  Today she also represents Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Brookfield, CT.   “Dr. Rappaport was awesome; I could not have survived without him,” Debra says today.  

Debra also credits being a client of Ann's Place as an invaluable part of her cancer care, the services Ann's Place provided to her pulled her though her treatment phase, throughout her treatment she didn't miss a single day of work. 


Dr. Rappaport is a cancer survivor himself and has helped facilitate the Young Adults Group and make scientific presentations at Ann’s Place, including the upcoming Head and Neck Cancer Panel.  What Debra was describing to her oncologist was not simply an estate.  It was an estate with a sculpture garden, amassed over the last 50 years by Edward and Doris Rosenthal.  On the grounds was a cottage that served as a studio for Masami Kodama, a sculptor who had immigrated to America from Hiroshima, Japan in 1964.  Kodama found a patron in the Rosenthal family and produced many abstract works, which have found homes in museums, public, private and corporate collections, while others remained on the estate.  Professor Kodama also taught sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. 

With Dr. Rappaport’s encouragement, Debra approached the Rosenthal family with a recommendation.  As they were donating the remaining sculptures to cities and museums to clear the estate, Debra spoke passionately about Ann’s Place and the inspiration she and other survivors have found there.  Wouldn’t a meditative sculpture add timeless inspiration to the grounds where clients come for peace and solace on their cancer journey?  

The family was receptive to the idea and vetted the agency over the next several months to ensure that Ann’s Place was soundly run.  Debra connected the estate heirs to then agency President Wilda Hayes and Chairman Paul Dinto and site visits and discussions began, with Debra, still in chemo and actively working, as the go-between.  In the end, it was decided that two pieces would come to Ann’s Place as a gift from Jason and Nancy Rosenthal.

On Friday, June 13th, 2014, during a monsoon rainstorm, Mariano Brothers of Bethel arrived with giant rigs to plant the two granite pieces on the grounds.  Staff and clients watched in fascination as thousand of pounds of stone were lowered to the ground.  With cancer not being a stranger to their families, the company donated their services and crew for hours of careful work.  Earlier, another mover who lost his mother to cancer had donated moving and storing the pieces until the right time for installation.

It comes full circle: a caring community gives back and allows the next generation of people whose lives are interrupted by cancer to take advantage of all the resources for their journey.  Debra Tricarico and all the others involved became part of that circle of paying it forward.  The circle concept is appropriately echoed in both of the Kodama sculptures that now grace the grounds at Ann’s Place.