A doctor in Richmond, Virginia, has found a way to repurpose wasted wedding flowers as bouquets for her patients.
Dr. Eleanor Love founded The Simple Sunflower when she was still a student at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (VCU) in 2019. As she knew the sufferings of extremely ill patients, she thought about ways to cheer them up.
“I did work in a flower shop before medical school, so it was a little bit on my radar, and I thought, ‘why don’t we bring the flowers that would normally be discarded after a wedding to our patients at the hospital?'” Love said according to SBLY Spotlight.
Love was inspired to develop The Simple Sunflower by the therapeutic properties of flowers.
According to Love, the essential impact she aims for through The Simple Sunflower is to improve patient outcomes, as evidenced by the research.
“Flowers have been shown to improve healing and rates of recovery from surgery,” she explained. “They’ve been shown, of course, to improve people’s mental health and to lift people’s spirits.”
Since the group’s beginnings, Love and other volunteers have often attended weddings and asked married couples would they like to donate their wedding flowers after the ceremony?.
People are often eager to give these flowers a second chance and improve the lives of the sick.
Next, from among the various bouquets, The Simple Sunflower’s members select the freshest stems and arrange them in a vase. On Monday, they give it to 20 to 40 patients, with palliative care patients receiving priority.
At VCU Medical Center, until March of this year, The Simple Sunflower has crafted approximately 500 bouquets and up to 40 tiny arrangements in one session to present to patients’ rooms.
Love expects that when she moves to another city, the medical students at VCU will be able to carry on what she started. She also plans to establish chapters in other medical colleges in the future.
“The Simple Sunflower combines my hobbies with my passion for caring for patients,” Love shared according to VCU’s website.
“This is a great opportunity to take a breather and connect not only with students from different medical school classes, but also with people in the broader community,” she went on to say.