When Richard A. Bloch, co-founder of tax preparation giant H&R Block, was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer on March 29, 1978, he was given just three months to live. But he did live and he fought his disease. To inspire others, Bloch donated money to build Cancer Survivors Parks around the country. Currently, there are parks in Omaha, Sacramento, Orlando, Chicago and a dozen other cities. But the first was built in Block's hometown, Kansas City, in 1989.
Every Cancer Survivors Park has three elements. The first is a sculpture of eight life-size figures passing through a maze of cancer treatments and successes, entitled "Cancer...There's Hope." The sculpture was designed by famous Mexican sculptor Victor Salmones and those visiting the park may interact with it, walk through the maze and among the figures to share in the experience.
The second element in the park is a “Positive Mental Attitude Walk" where a visitor can stroll down a path and meditate on the 14 plaques. There are 4 inspirational plaques and 10 plaques of suggestions for fighting cancer. The third element is the "Road to Recovery". A red path leads the visitor past 7 bronze plaques with common sense advice to use during treatment. This path serves as a red carpet for "those who have the realization and the courage to change their existence into living."
Each park also has a unique element to represent the individual city. In Kansas City, it is the Arch of Triumph, the highest point in the park The Arch "represents a passage where one is symbolically in charge of their own life again."
The Kansas City has also added a colorful sculpture to part of the park entitled "Transformed Flower." This bright red, orange and yellow work combines art and architecture as it rises from a circle at the base to an eight-pointed star at the top. The sculpture was designed by Phillip K Smith III of California.
The architecture and art of the Cancer Survivors Park are visually stunning while its message of hope and survival are positively inspiring.
Total Travel Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes
Total Travel Distance: 90 miles
Soundtrack: "Muswell Hillbillies" The Kinks