An organic food garden in Lake Druid Park caters specifically to women undergoing breast cancer treatment.

Grammy-winning musician Melissa Etheridge was in Orlando Tuesday to help launch Libby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation’s Pink Ribbon Garden Project on land donated by the City of Orlando.

Libby’s Legacy is a nonprofit that provides breast cancer health care to the underserved Central Florida community.

“Knowing that there is a consciousness starting here in Orlando about health, about wellness, about real food and how it can help the process of going through a cancer diagnosis — that gives me so much hope,” said Etheridge, who is a breast cancer survivor.

The project encourages a “grow one, give one” concept. Breast cancer survivors tend the garden and collect a bag of fruits and vegetables for patients in treatment.

Volunteers built th 27’ X 17’ raised garden bed in the shape of an awareness ribbon, painted it pink and planted fruits and vegetables.

Libby’s Legacy was formed in 2007, a year after Libby Maynard died from Stage IV Breast Cancer. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2005 and endured a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation. The cancer returned in September 2005.  After more chemo in January 2006, her doctor told her the average woman in her condition lives three to five years.

Her daughters, Marty and Robin, were planning to take their mother to Alaska and Italy – places she wanted to visit. But she passed away six weeks later, on February 28, 2006.

Robin Maynard was an Orange County paramedic and crime scene investigator since 1995. She stated Libby’s Legacy in memory of her mother.  She worked full time as a CSI, while running the foundation until May 20, 2009, when she cashed in her 401K and left her career to concentrate on the nonprofit.

In 2016, three women had recurrences of breast cancer and Libby’s Legacy decided to find a way to prevent the disease from returning. Research has shown that a healthy diet can help prevent reoccurrences, by as much as 24 percent in some cases.

Underserved breast cancer survivors struggle with eating a healthy diet and the nonprofit came up with the idea to start the Pink Ribbon Garden Project. A month later, Maynard attended a breast cancer workshop led by Etheridge. She shared her dream of starting the garden and the singer/songwriter agreed to collaborate on the project.

“There is a great food injustice in this country,” Maynard said. “It’s much cheaper to feed your family at a fast food chain than feed them organic healthy foods, due to cost and access.”

Maynard and Etheridge co-founded the Pink Ribbon Garden Project and participated in the May 16 grand opening.

About The Author

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

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