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Topping Tower’s unique garden nears completion; Area offers serenity, a place to reflect

Construction worker puts finishing touches on a trellis in the meditation garden of the Dr. Norman Topping Tower.

Photo by Jon Nalick

Shortly after the dedication of the Dr. Norman Topping Tower at the USC/Norris Cancer Center later this month, a smaller, quieter and more serene addition to Norris will assume its place as a living complement to the growing facility. Shortly after the dedication of the Dr. Norman Topping Tower at the USC/Norris Cancer Center later this month, a smaller, quieter and more serene addition to Norris will assume its place as a living complement to the growing facility.

Norris Cancer Hospital administrator G. Peter Shostak will dedicate the Sherry Hinderstein Meditation Garden at a private reception on Tuesday, March 26.

On hand will be Howard Hinderstein, whose daughter Sherry died at Norris Hospital in November 1988. Funds for the construction of the meditation garden came from Sherry’s parents, as well as from family and friends dedicated to creating a memorial that could provide refuge for others dealing with the painful and sometimes overwhelming experience of cancer.

After Sherry’s death, Howard and Beverly Hinderstein met with Shostak to discuss an appropriate gift to the hospital in memory of their daughter.

“We just didn’t want a plaque over a room at the hospital,” said Howard Hinderstein.

“Mr. Shostak suggested a garden, and the words weren’t yet out of his mouth when Beverly and I said, ‘that’s for Sherry,'” Hinderstein said.

The garden will not only be a resource for Norris patients, but also for friends and family who need a quiet place to spend time during visits to the hospital.

“My wife wanted a place that mothers, fathers, relatives and friends could go and sit comfortably, cry if they wish, talk if they wish, and gather to mediate,” said Hinderstein, whose wife Beverly died recently.

Beverly’s words will be engraved on a plaque positioned at the entrance to the garden: “May you feel love and peace within these gardens, and when you leave may the courage and spirit of Sherry go with you.”

Hinderstein has recently commissioned a sculpture of three generations of women in honor of his wife, daughter, and granddaughter Alyse to be placed at the entrance to the garden. Granddaughter Alyse died last year at age sixteen.

The meditation garden is located directly outside the new Topping Tower, and includes numerous trees, benches, and a variety of perennial flowers.

The new Dr. Norman Topping Tower will be dedicated at a ribbon cutting ceremony at noon on Thursday the 21st, outside the Tower at the corner of Biggy Street and Eastlake Avenue.

University President Steven Sample, along with officials from the USC/Norris Cancer Center will be on hand for the ceremony.

Topping Tower’s unique garden nears completion; Area offers serenity, a place to reflect

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