LEWISTON – More than 800 people of all ages gathered in an open field at Geiger Elementary School Saturday to remember a loved one at Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice’s Butterfly Release remembrance ceremony. More than 700 butterflies were purchased in memory of a loved one to benefit patient care at the Hospice House. Nearly $23,000 was raised, with all of the proceeds going directly to patient care at the Hospice House.
“One of the reasons I enjoy our events is that they bring together members of the community,’’ said AHCH President and CEO Kenneth Albert. “Not to be lost, however, is that your participation in the Butterfly Release directly impacts our ability to care for your friends, neighbors and family. Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice is the only independent non-profit home care and hospice organization in our state. If you need our services and qualify for our services, you will get them, even if you do not have health insurance and can’t pay for them. And we are able to continue to serve all who need care due, in part, to the generosity of our donors.”
After all of the names or those honored were read, Kate Sicotte, Clinical Supervisor of the Hospice House shared the significance and symbolism associated with remembering a loved one with a butterfly, reading the words of Dennis Alexander: “A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam. And for a brief moment its glory and beauty belong to our world. But then it flies on again, and though we wish it could have stayed, we feel so lucky to have seen it."
Five wicker baskets were then brought to pedestals in front of the seated attendees, and all of the lids were flipped simultaneously, creating a spectacle of black, orange and white. Many of the butterflies flew to nearby plants to get acclimated, while others landed on the hands, shoulders or backs of event attendees.
Nearly all attendees stayed after the release of the butterflies to enjoy their presence. Some wept when a butterfly landed on them, and others simply smiled while holding one of the beautiful creatures and remembering those who had gone before them.
This year’s event was graciously sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank, Bedard Pharmacy and Medical Supplies, the Fortin Group, the Tainter and Simoneau Foundation and Gleason Media Services. Longfellow’s Greenhouse generously allowed the use of many of its plants that attract butterflies.
For the past 50 years, Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice has grown to become known as one of Maine’s most respected home health and hospice care agencies. To learn more about AHCH, including employment and volunteer opportunities, please visit www.ahch.org or call the Marketing and Development Office at 777.7740 ext. 1407.