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Butterfly release celebrates lives of loved ones

File photo by Donald McClure

The Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation and local funeral homes are organizing an open-air event to celebrate the life and memory of loved ones.

On Sunday, Sept. 17 at 2p.m. the Foundation Board and staff along with sponsors and invited guests will release Monarch butterflies at two locations – the Wellington Park and the garden behind Whattam Funeral Home on Main St., Picton.

“This beautiful remembrance of loved ones lost has been sponsored by Ainsworth Funeral Home, and by Whattam Funeral Home and Hicks Funeral Home,” said Briar Boyce, Foundation Communications and Donations Co-ordinator.

“The Monarchs will be delivered to each location in a tailored package, keeping the butterfly in a comfortable, hibernated state until the time of release. Once the package is opened, the natural heat and light will awaken these sleeping beauties and inspire them to take flight.”

“Both the Wellington Park and garden behind Whattam Funeral Home are tranquil settings that will be a beautiful first home for the butterflies before they begin their long migration south for the winter,” said Monica Alyea, chairperson of the Foundation. “Butterflies are an acknowledgement of a life lived. Their release signifies freedom and encourages those left behind to take another step in the healing process. We are honoured to take this next stride with our guests as we think of those remembered through a gift to the Hospital Foundation.”

The idea stemmed from a conversation between Boyce and long-time donor and friend to the Foundation, Marion Smith. Briar asked Marion about the most memorable event she ever attended, and the answer came quickly and simply – a butterfly release.

“It is our hope this will be a memorable event for all those who attend as there is no doubt the butterfly has significant meaning to so many,” said Boyce.

“Ainsworth Funeral Home is very pleased to partner with the PECMHF in this unique remembrance memorial,” said Tod Lavender, owner and Funeral Director. “Not only is it a great way to recognize and support our County Hospital, but, it is an opportunity to honour the memory of those who have passed in a special and meaningful way. My family and I are looking forward to releasing the Monarch butterflies in the park with the families we have been privileged to serve.”

“Gayle and I have been excited about the butterfly release. Much credit to Briar, executive director Penny Rolinski and the directors on the PECMHF board for the hard work finalizing the logistics of this event,” said Bob Osborne, owner of the Whattam and Hicks funeral homes. “Not only is this an opportunity to remember loved ones, but also an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of the many memorial donations made to the Foundation in their memory.”

The Foundation thanks the funeral home directors for generous sponsorship of the butterflies to be released in memory of those who were remembered through a gift to the Hospital Foundation.

If you are interested in joining in the release a butterfly in memory of a loved one, contact Briar with your preferred release site at 613-476-1008 ext. 4425 or briar@pecmhf.ca before Friday, Sept. 8. Butterflies can be purchased at a cost-recovery price of $15 each. This is a rain or shine event.

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