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Hackensack Hospital’s Rooftop Garden Offers Hope To Pediatric Patients

Josephine Rispoli (credit: Handout via Glenn Schuck/1010 WINS)

Josephine Rispoli (credit: Handout via Glenn Schuck/1010 WINS)

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HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Josephine Rispoli spent much of the last year of her short life battling cancer at Hackensack University Medical Center.

Now, the hospital is honoring her courage by opening a special rooftop garden where children fighting terrible odds can play and just be a kid.

1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports

Her mother has spent the last few months building Josephine’s Garden as a tribute to her daughter’s courageous battle.

“She loved art, she loved nature,” Heidi Rispoli said. “Everything in this garden represents an element of hope and an element of dreams. It’s about life, it’s about battles.”

The space officially opened on Monday, the day Josephine would’ve turned 8-years old. The area  features a wishing fountain, climbing boulders and inspirational artwork.

Rispoli said if her daughter was still alive she would “climb on the boulder and then she’d carve her name in the warrior pole and leave her mark to say ‘I fought the fight.’”

Josephine died on Oct. 23, 2011 after a 13-month battle with a brain tumor.

Throughout her battle, she had dreamed of being outside and creating a space where all pediatric patients could play in the sunshine and interact with nature.