The story of “Nicky’s Room of Remembrance”: On November 15th, 2003, six year old Nicholas Sommerfield, with his dad, was on his way to catch the bus to go to kindergarten. This was Nicky’s most favorite part of the day. However, when they were crossing the street, they were struck by a car. Nicky did not survive. His dad would spend many long days of recovering the body, mind and spirit at SF General, his life changed forever.
Ten years later, his grief was still apparent as he told this story to Nancy Ballard. He shared this story with Nancy as an affirmation that RTR4C does, indeed, understand pain and he admired our willingness and devotion to help in some small way to alleviate such. He wanted to do something special to honor his sweet son that would involve his (now) 13 year old Collin and a new baby brother.
It was then Nancy knew SF General would be the next project for RTR4C and it would be in honor of Nicholas and his family – a fitting venue to pay tribute to the sweet and gentle and much too short life of Nicholas.
As it often does in these cases, SF General had just expressed interest in RTR4C. We set the date. It was an amazing and heart felt project in honor of Nicholas and his family. John and his 13-year old son Colin, who was just three years old when he lost his adored big brother, picked out the photos that would adorn the walls in Nicky’s Room. Shannon Geis, an amazing and gifted muralist, created a beach scene on the walls in honor of Nicky and the patients…The beach was one of Nicky’s favorite places and a fond family memory.
On the 10th anniversary of Nicky’s death, RTR4C gave his family a way to transform a tragedy into something positive and healing for the community. A dedication ceremony was held on Friday, November 15, 2013 at 5p.m. to celebrate the life of Nicky and the newly renovated chemotherapy unit. The waiting room, now an underwater wonder, is a tribute to Nicky’s life.
As this was a huge project, we were able to honor two other families – Nini Bradford and Bud & Dorth Linebarger, the parents of our very own founder – Nancy Ballard. They would have been proud. (happy tears)
All of us at RoomsThatRock4Chemo are grateful, overwhelmed and elated to help as a conduit for all of the above families. It’s just what RTR4C does – We bring people together in a way that makes a difference, a bit of sunshine, a rainbow, a fish, the wish upon a star – bringing love, courage and hopefully a bittersweet closure to real life as we know it.
Our sincere thank you to all that make this vision a reality. The magic of these rooms never cease to amaze and bring us to our knees in awe and thanksgiving.
Scope of Project
Entire outpatient chemotherapy unit including hallways, nurses station, nurses break room, waiting rooms, and treatment rooms. Working with the knowledge that SFG never shuts down, we kept our voices low and worked around those receiving treatment throughout the weekend.
This project is funded and Sponsored primarily by The Loy & Dororthy Linebarger Memorial Endowment Fund. Nancy Ballard’s sister Allaire (Lulu) and her brother, Loy III and his wife, Sandy are sponsoring this project in memory of their parent, Bud & Dorth.
Other sponsors: Art.Com, Cutting Edge Stencils, Behr Paint, Home Depot
Designers: Cora Sue Anthony, Andres Torres, Kelly Buscovich, Sharon Geis – muralist,
On-Site Volunteers: 90
About SF General Hospital
The General is a pioneer in cancer care for vulnerable populations providing outstanding care, treatment and research for patients affected by all cancer diagnoses. With 14 treatment chairs where each year patients receive more than 9,000 chemotherapy treatments as well as blood transfusions and antibiotic treatments, The General is also home of the Cancer Awareness Resources and Education (CARE) program, providing education and support for English, Spanish, and Cantonese-speaking patients that helps them find the resources and support they need as they go through what could be the most difficult time in their lives. Additionally, the Avon Comprehensive Breast Center reaches out to low-income and uninsured members of the community with the Mobile Mammography Van, and has provided more than 45,000 screening mammograms in and 3,000 breast health procedures since 2004.