Dr. Richard (Dick) and Nancy Dixon

Dr. Richard (Dick) and Nancy Dixon

Dr. Richard (Dick) and Nancy Dixon

During his 35 years as an oncologist, Dr. Richard (Dick) Dixon saw firsthand how important all aspects of wellness were to a patient’s recovery.

In addition to traditional treatments of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, patients’ mental wellbeing played an important role in their return to health, he says. So when the opportunity came up to provide the lead gift for the Healing Garden at Mount Nittany Medical Center, Dick and his wife, Nancy, immediately signed on.

“A lot of research has shown that patients who look out on a garden instead of looking at a brick wall have better outcomes,” says Dick. “I think the healing garden really will provide that kind of an environment.” In addition to the patients, a healing garden is also therapeutic for families, caregivers and hospital staff, an aspect of the planned garden that Nancy is very committed to. “When hospital staff members are stressed, it’s very helpful to be able to go someplace for five or 10 minutes to kind of rejuvenate themselves and be ready to start over again,” Nancy says. “I think that’s very important.”

As lifelong gardeners—Nancy loves tending flowers and plants; Dick loves vegetable gardening—they are thrilled to be members of the garden’s community-wide planning committee, along with groups like the Penn State Master Gardeners. “This garden is going to be nice, really nice!” Dick says.

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