The Bay Area Young Survivors (BAYS), a nonprofit support group for people diagnosed with breast cancer at age 45 or younger, is funding a Breast Cancer Memorial Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The sanctuary will offer the healing balm of nature and serve as a place of solidarity for women and a spot for reflection for anyone affected by breast cancer.
In the works for eight years, the BAYS project has been approved by the city and its parks department; the goal is to break ground and open in 2024. According to SFGate.com, the garden will be the first new memorial garden to open at the city’s park since the National AIDS Memorial Grove began in 1991.
BAYS is currently receiving bids from contractors, but due to inflation, the cost is 50% greater than originally planned. “We now must raise the remaining $200,000 in order to break ground and fulfill the vision,” BAYS member and memorial garden co-coordinator Nola Agha tells Cancer Health. “We are seeking philanthropic partners and contributions to support this effort. Despite this surprise surge in costs, we’re motivated to ensure there is a sacred space to honor over 100 BAYS members who have died and all those thousands of people who die each year of metastatic breast cancer.”
Founded in 2003 by Angela Padilla and Deb Mosley, BAYS has grown to over 1,000 members. The group is run entirely by volunteers, Agha notes. “We believe that is a testament to the fortitude of cancer patients, that they can navigate their own treatment, support others and still manage to gift an amazing public amenity to San Francisco and the community beyond.”