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Niagara Hospice to hold annual Butterfly Release

LOCKPORT – Niagara Hospice will hold its 12th annual Butterfly Release from 1 to 3 p.m. July 18 in the Memorial Gardens, 4675 Sunset Drive, Lockport,

Live butterflies for the mass release are available by presale only until Friday for this event and must be preordered by calling Niagara Hospice at 280-0766,or by visiting NiagaraHospice.org. All proceeds benefit Niagara Hospice’s many services and programs.

The event attracts and welcomes families from all over Niagara County. More than 350 butterflies are released into the gardens each year, according to Mandy Raff, Niagara Hospice’s special events and volunteer coordinator.

“The butterfly release is definitely one of our most-loved annual events,” said Raff. “It provides an opportunity for families and individuals to celebrate the people closest to them, and it brings the community together in a very special way.” In many cultures, butterflies are recognized as a symbol of hope, and this event offers people a way to remember and celebrate the lives of loved ones. The event is open to the community, and organizers invite families and individuals to release butterflies in memory or in honor of someone special to them, regardless of whether or not they ever received hospice care.

In addition to the release, family activities will be offered, including a bounce house, kids’ games, balloon art, refreshments and live music.

“This will not be a sad, memorial-type service, but rather a day of rejoicing the life your loved one lived,” said Patricia Degan, Niagara Hospice’s director of marketing and public relations. “Families are welcome, and it will be a wonderful opportunity to show younger children that, along with the grief of death, there is also a time of hope and renewal.”

Hand-painted sun catchers and butterfly plants also may be purchased by calling Hospice or visiting its website, with proceeds benefiting the organization.

Niagara Hospice has provided end-of-life comfort, care and support since 1988 to more than 25,000 Niagara County individuals and families faced with terminal illness. No one is ever denied hospice care due to inability to pay. For more information on the organization, visit NiagaraHospice.org or call (716) 439-4417.