Hospital honors paramedic with ‘Chelsea Garden’ memorial

Standing in Chelsea’s Garden are paramedic Joseph Chollette, left, with Chelsea’s mother Celia Doxey, garden designer Owen Merodon, friend Debra Gaffigan and paramedic Donald Smith. - Photo: Jewel Levy

The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority dedicated a memorial garden Wednesday in honor of Chelsea Doxey, a former worker who died of cancer last year.

Ms. Doxey joined the hospital team in 2011 and worked as a paramedic in the Emergency Medical Technician Department before she succumbed to her illness.

Chelsea’s Garden – a quiet patio with seating, an awning, potted plants and a rock wall with a plaque dedicated to Ms. Doxey’s memory is located behind the Cayman Islands Hospital’s Chemotherapy Unit building on Pines Drive.

Health Services Authority CEO Lizzette Yearwood thanked sponsors, donors and volunteers who made Chelsea’s Garden a reality.

“Ms. Doxey was a special member of staff. It was a very devastating time for us at HSA to lose such a valued member of staff,” she said.

Ms. Yearwood said the garden came about after she was approached by Debra Gaffigan, the HSA’s health and safety officer to do something to honor Ms. Doxey, something her former colleagues would have as a memorial to remember her by in times to come.

HSA staff met with Cancer Society Director Betty Ann Duty and her team to talk over proposals. Before long, they were in talks with potential sponsors and volunteers.
“The support was overwhelming,” said Ms. Yearwood.

Chelsea’s sister, Cilicia Doxey, thanked those who donated their time and funding to the project.

“It’s truly beautiful and I am sure she is looking down from Heaven admiring it,” Ms. Doxey said.

“It is good because it’s … a memorial to Chelsea. It is also something we felt that other cancer patients will be able to benefit from, because it’s right next to the Chemotherapy Unit,” Ms. Yearwood said.

Ms. Gaffigan, Chelsea’s friend and colleague, said the garden was truly a labor of love. She said that before Ms. Doxey died, she asked Ms. Gaffigan not to forget her.

“One of the things I wanted to do was to make something that we could all remember her by … I think the garden provides a nice place for chemotherapy patients to use when they are spending many hours on their treatment … it also allows us to keep Chelsea’s memory alive,’ Ms. Gaffigan said.

The Cancer Society’s Ms. Duty said the joint project between the Cancer Society and the Health Services Authority is a most welcome addition to the hospital and will provide a relaxing place for patients as they undergo their cancer treatment.
“It is a fitting tribute,” she said.

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