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Butterfly Release Celebration sets record

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Almost 700 butterfly dedications were received for the annual event, which this year raised more than $27,000 to support patient care and family support services provided at Hospice House. (Photo by Nathan Tsukroff)

Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice’s eighth annual Butterfly Release Celebration on August 7 raised more than $27,000 to support patient care and family support services provided at the Hospice House. The number of people attending reached 600, surpassing previous years, and 697 butterfly dedications were received.

Ken Albert, AHCH’s new President and CEO, welcomed guests, discussed the meaning of hospice care and challenged everyone to have the courage to have conversations with family, friends and health care providers about how we want to live our final days. AHCH’s volunteer choir Androscoggin Harmony provided music to start the program. In recognition of the agency’s 50th anniversary, butterfly releasers included AHCH’s first President, Dick Hooper, its most recent CEO, Julie Shackley, and 45-year employee Linda Stone.

Names of those being remembered were read, and Hospice Supervisor Victoria Scattoloni concluded the program by noting that, for centuries, butterflies have symbolized celebration, transformation and transition. As each butterfly box reached its stand, they were opened, and Monarch butterflies filled the sky. It was a peaceful moment for those in attendance to reflect and remember their loved ones.

“You would think that an event with 600 people would be loud and boisterous, but it isn’t. It is calm and peaceful,” noted Development Coordinator Teri Blaschke. “It is amazing to watch 600 people of all ages listening closely for their loved one’s name to be read and to see the emotions on their faces. When the butterflies are released, you can hear the gasps. It is very moving and incredibly beautiful.”

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