GREENVILLE, S.C. – January 22, 2021 – Cancer Survivors Park Alliance (CSPA) formally introduced its latest park element, The Welcome Statue, to the Upstate community with a private unveiling with Bill and Jan McCrary on behalf of the William V. McCrary Family. The family’s generous gift represents a significant milestone for Cancer Survivors Park, which made this statue and other parts of the park possible.
The Welcome Statue celebrates the welcoming spirt of Esta McCrary. For those who had the good fortune of knowing her, Esta would instantly put anyone at ease. She passed in 2016 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. To honor her spirt and provide inspiration for all survivors at all stages of the journey, the McCrary family and CSPA commissioned the statue. Being a primary destination for hope and healing, the visionaries behind the design of the park knew the statue should welcome visitors with that same spirit.
The sculpture extends her arm in a graceful welcome to all who visit the park to experience hope, healing, faith and education. CSPA founder Diane Gluck explains, “When you have cancer, you can have all the love in the world directed your way, but strangely you can still feel lonelier than ever. The Welcome Statue is a tangible reminder that you are never alone throughout the cancer journey. There are so many people who understand and are there to help — you just need to reach out and take the first step.”
“Our family is truly amazed by Cancer Survivors Park, and we’ve had a front-row seat to see it continue to evolve,” said Bill McCrary. “It’s our hope that this unique gift to the Upstate will welcome all to the park for many years to come with the same welcoming spirit that we were fortunate to have with Esta and continue in our family today.”
“Inspiration is powerful medicine, and visitors to Cancer Survivors Park have experiences with our park elements that make inspiration possible,” said Kay Roper, executive director of the Cancer Survivors Park Alliance. “Due to the generosity and kindness of donors like the McCrary family, the talent and creativity of artists like the Pates and the ongoing support of City of Greenville, we’re able to enhance the experiences of our facility which can have a lasting impact for those learning to live with cancer, or any life-altering illness or loss.”
The statue was created by the father and son team of Charlie Pate and Charles Pate Jr. “We wanted to create something truly unique that would honor Esta’s spirit and heart.” says Charles. “We created a woman who represents everyone who has battled cancer, offering her outstretched hand in a welcoming gesture that lets the viewer know the intent of the statue – that they are not alone on their journey.”
Though the bronze sculpture weighs more than five hundred pounds, the image is light and uplifting with blowing hair and fabric and weightless dancing on tip-toes. The butterfly pattern on her dress represents a coming to life and floating on the breeze connecting with the history of the butterfly as a symbol for resurrection, transformation and overcoming hardships. This sculpture represents community, offers hope, and celebrates life.
Many additional supporters came together to make this possible. Bruce Royal donated the engineering plan for the base, Kyle Gillespie installed the cut granite, Arbor Engineering is responsible for the landscape base plan around the statue and the City of Greenville will handle maintenance of the element going forward.
“The Welcome Statue conveys a serenity and love that words can’t do,” said Greenville City Mayor Knox White. “The City is grateful to Bill and Jan McCrary and his family for this gift in honor of Esta. So many will learn of her courage and love through this memorial.”
“It is always a privilege when generous souls commission art, especially those pieces that are created with special meaning and purpose,” said Charles Pate. “The Welcome Statue features both and it truly celebrates life. This will always be a loving memorial to Esta’s life and spirit.”
Cancer Survivors Park has been open to the public in downtown Greenville since 2018. It features a unique blend of gathering spaces and natural walkways along the Swamp Rabbit Trail, all dedicated to celebration, learning, healing and hope. Additional elements are planned for unveiling this year. Visitors to the park are encouraged to take pictures with The Welcome Statue and other park elements and tag Cancer Survivors Park on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn).