• Memorial honoring victims of cancer from Nyanza factory damaged by vandals

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    ASHLAND, Mass. - The Ashland Memorial Healing Garden is a place to reflect on a painful chapter in the small town’s history, a place to remember the dead.

    It was constructed last year in remembrance of those whose deaths were tied from the Nyanza plant that used to be in town.

    “This is a very important space for us,” Dan Borelli said.

    Nyanza produced dyes, poisons, that made their way into the environment and contaminated the water of a small river.

    Because of that, the memorial garden was built with a variety of colors, but recent vandalism has left several of the glass panels with holes.

    “We made something in memory of people that we loved that are no longer here, so it hurt - it hurt a lot,” Borelli said.

    In 1998, Marie Kane’s 26-year-old son Kevin died from a rare form of cancer tied to the Nyanza contamination.

    “He was diagnosed and died within 11 months. Very, very tragic,” she said. “I come here and I know he's part of all the creation here. And the good that has come out of his death.”

    Jamie Merloni lost two high school friends to Nyanza-associated cancers.

    “This place is about all of our friends that had hardships, the families that we watched suffer over the years,” he said.

    They are the colors of remembrance, the colors of pain, the colors that tore holes in the hearts of some families.

    A fundraiser is set to take place in September to help cover the costs of repair and upkeep for the memorial.

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