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Hospice butterfly release back Aug. 7 after nearly three years

Memorial butterflies on sale now: honour a loved one and support the work of Greater Sudbury’s palliative care facility

The annual Maison McCulloch Hospice live butterfly release was not only a major fundraiser for Greater Sudbury’s only palliative care facility, but also a powerfully emotional event for the many people who participated year after year.

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has meant that for nearly three years, the butterfly release has not been able to be held.

This year, though, on Aug. 7, the poignant event returns to the grounds of Science North.

“After nearly three years of mourning our loved ones alone, the Lougheed Foundation Live butterfly release is a great opportunity to bring families together to share stories and talk about those we love and miss, all while supporting the Hospice,” said Ashley Bertrand, director of the Sudbury Hospice Foundation. “Every butterfly sold brings the Foundation closer to raising the dollars needed to allow the Hospice to continue serving our community at no cost.”

The Aug. 7 event will be held between 3-5 p.m. in front of the Rusty Blakey Monument on the grounds of Science North. You can pre-purchase your butterfly for $40 until July 29 by calling 705-674-9252 or by visiting Lougheed Flower Shop or Jackson Barnard Funeral Home.

All funds raised support the programs and services of the hospice.

“Come join us for this unique opportunity to celebrate the life of a loved one by releasing a butterfly in their honour or memory,” the hospice states on its website. “Butterflies are the acknowledgement of a life lived and a multicultural symbol of change, transformation and the beauty of nature. Their release signifies freedom and encourages those left behind to take another step in the healing process.” 

All funds will benefit the programs and services of Maison McCulloch Hospice.

Longtime hospice supporter Gerry Lougheed said the powerful emotions stirred up by the butterfly release are a reminder that Maison McCulloch Hospice is not a place of a death, but a place to celebrate life.

“The Hospice is about living, not dying,” Lougheed said. “It’s about respect, dignity, petting the family dog, singing songs with grandchildren, hugging family – in short, living on your own terms.”

The butterflies, he added, represent very personal things for the people who release them. For Lougheed, the two butterflies he releases pay homage to his parents, Marguerite and Gerry Sr.

“I look at our butterflies, which represent our mom and dad,” Lougheed said. “We know their struggle from the cocoons of cancer and strokes have made them beautiful and strong in a good place that doesn’t have the adversities of this world – but these butterflies remind me of the moments of wonderful family dinners and visits, wonderful shared tears and hugs, and saying the I-love-yous.”

Learn more about the event here.