Mama Sue’s Garden

Every spring, Mama Sue’s Garden at Carroll Campbell Place, Lexington Medical Center’s facility for people with Alzheimer’s disease, comes alive with beautiful new blooms.

The Lexington Medical Center Foundation built the garden after a generous donation from someone with a personal connection there.

“Mama Sue” was Dora Sue Porth Spires. Born in 1921 and raised on a farm in Lexington County, she adored gardening and music.

“My mom could touch a flower and it would grow. She could grow roses – and grew them nicely,” said Betty McWhorter, Mama Sue’s daughter.

Mama Sue spent the last three years of her life as a resident of Lexington Medical Center Extended Care, the hospital’s skilled nursing facility. When she passed away in 2000 after suffering from dementia, Mama Sue’s family wanted to find a way to honor her.

Betty McWhorter in Mama Sue's Garden at Carroll Campbell Place

Betty McWhorter in Mama Sue’s Garden at Carroll Campbell Place

At the time, McWhorter was a member of the Lexington Medical Center Foundation board of directors and plans were in place for a garden at Carroll Campbell Place.

Because Alzheimer’s patients have a tendency to wander, the garden was designed with pathways in continuous loops.

One side features a soothing and relaxing water feature. The other has speakers for outdoor music.
With a generous gift from Mama Sue’s family, the hospital’s Foundation dedicated the garden in 2002 and named it

“Mama Sue’s Garden,” honoring Mama Sue’s lifelong love of flowers, nature and music.

Family members can take their loved ones outside to the garden to enjoy each other’s company in a peaceful setting, where memories are precious.

“The garden is calming, serene and safe. It gives solace to family members,” McWhorter said. “And flowers can bring comfort when things seem the most difficult.”

Today, Mama Sue’s family encourages philanthropy in the community.

“When you can give outside yourself to a cause you believe in, it magnifies itself over and over. Let’s see what we can do together.”

The Lexington Medical Center Foundation provides important programs and services that help people in our community, including cancer patients. Please consider giving to the Lexington Medical Center Foundation during the Central Carolina Community Foundation’s “Midlands Gives” challenge on May 5. Learn more at MidlandsGives.org.

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