WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — Roberta Lehrman says she knew the moment she walked into the DinoSoar Garden at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital that this was where she wanted to do something in honor of her son Matthew.
“When we had walked into the DinoSoar Garden, it was like we had found a home.”
Matthew died in 2017 after a two-year long battle with Osteosarcoma, a very rare and aggressive form of bone cancer. He was just 24-years-old.
“He graduated from college in May of 2015. He moved down to Florida and he was diagnosed a month later,” Lehrman said.
She said during his treatment she saw how beneficial it was to have a distraction from the harsh reality of his sickness.
“The treatment is intensive and you’re sick so to be able to go someplace and do an art project, or see a movie, or listen to musicit’s necessary” she said. “It helps the patient, and speaking as a mother, it helps the families cope.”
Working with St. Mary’s Medical Center, Lehrman donated funds from the charity she created in Matthew’s honor to revitalize the DinoSoar Garden.
“It was Matthew. I believe it was Matthew because the amount of money that they needed was exactly the money that we had in our charity,” Lehrman said.
The new additions feature a state of the art lighting and sound system, playing calming music along with a tranquil water stream flowing through it.
There’s a walking path and interactive games and musical instruments for the children to play.
“It really does look like an oasis in the middle of a building,” said Lisa Barron, the pediatric office supervisor at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital.
There are also murals painted by artist Keith Goodson which includes a beautiful portrait of Matthew watching over.
“At this stage of my life as an artist it’s always my joy to be able to take on a project like this, that means so much to people and that brings a little bit of comfort,” Goodson said. “I’m using my gift to be able to comfort them when they’ve had loss or any kind of tragic situation.”
Lehrman says she knows her son would love the garden.
“I feel he is smiling and I think he’s proud and happy that we were able to do something for these children.”
Lehrman says she hopes they can create projects like the DinoSoar Garden at other hospitals through the Matthew Lehrman Osteosarcoma Fund.
This charity runs solely on donations and is on a mission to provide children outlets and opportunities to escape from the realities of treatment through arts, crafts, and games for pediatric patients.