Healing Garden Reopens at
NorthShore Skokie Hospital

Employees and visitors enjoy the reopening of The Garden.




Thirty years ago, Rolana Tankus Fox passed away at the age of 36 after a courageous four-year battle with breast cancer.

Her parents, Harry and Lila Tankus—historic donors to the former Rush North Shore and now NorthShore Skokie Hospital—created a living memorial in their beloved daughter’s name. The Rolana Tankus Fox Healing Garden, which opened in 2003, was an outdoor respite, a calming oasis from the often busy healing work that was going on inside the hospital, just feet away.

“It was a place to bereave a loved one, find peace or solitude, or just be in a nonmedical setting,” said Harry, a former Chairman and Trustee of the hospital. “I was surprised at how many people dropped in to the Garden.” Lila, a 25-year volunteer at the hospital, said she and her husband were so glad the Garden brought contentment to patients, staff and visitors. “Anyone could come and get what they needed from it,” she said.

With the hospital’s expansion, came construction. Now, the Garden has reopened on the south side of the hospital, adjacent to the cafeteria. The Garden features a walking path, seated eating area, abundant plantings and a water feature. A bronze plaque dedicating the garden to the memory of Rolana Tankus Fox is inscribed with the words: “May you find what you are seeking in this garden. It was intentionally created to provide a peaceful space for reflection, solitude and healing.”

A blessing by Ida-Regina Oliver, Chaplain at Skokie Hospital, was offered on Oct. 19, the day the Garden reopened. “I think the Rolana Tankus Fox Healing Garden is important because it provides a setting for rest, reflection and prayer,” said Oliver. “It represents the gifts of loving kindness and peace.” Hospital employees and visitors enjoyed the reopening and dedication, expressing their gratitude and enthusiasm for the pleasant and welcoming outdoor space.

“We all need something to hold on to,” said Lila. “For the time at the Garden, you can find peace and lift your heart.” The couple are so very proud of their daughter and all that she accomplished in her life. Rolana Tankus Fox was fluent in French and a vice president at a couture shoe company based in Paris. She grew up on the North Shore but moved to New York for her work, was married and was highly respected in her industry. When she became ill, she was treated at the hospital.

The Rolana Tankus Fox Healing Garden, said Lila, “gives our daughter peace and completes her journey.” The Tankus family is delighted to welcome everyone to the Garden, and hopes those who visit find the peace they are looking for.

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