Butterfly release fundraiser helps sick kids dreams come true
© Bonnie Learning photo
Ryan Jenkinson, 3, patiently waits for the time to release her butterfly at the ‘Wings for an Angel’ event in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on July 19.
It was a beautiful day for butterflies, as dozens of people turned out to release 140 of them at Kinsmen Park in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on July 19.
The release — called ‘Wings for an Angel’ — is a major fundraiser for The Dream Fund (formerly known as the Short Circuit Dream Fund), a Newfoundland & Labrador-based charity that makes dreams come true for critically ill children in the province. Since becoming a registered charity in 2009, the wishes of 25 kids have come true.
This was the second year for the release in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which coincided with others across the province on the same day, including St. John’s, Labrador City, Gander, Corner Brook, Bay Roberts and Marystown.
Hannah Connors was the local contact for the fundraiser in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, putting the word out about the event via social media earlier this year.
“The butterflies (called ‘Painted Ladies’) were $20 each and had to be pre-ordered by May 30,” Connors explained. “They had to be pre-ordered, as the butterfly farm in Ontario had to make sure they could breed enough to supply the events.”
She noted each butterfly purchased could be named in honor or memory of up to two people.
“We raised $2,600, which is enough to make at least one wish come true,” said Connors.
William Short is the founder and CEO of the Dream Fund, based in Marystown.
He said this year’s Wings for an Angel event was a huge success all across the province.
“We sold all 1,400 butterflies, with 140 of them in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which doubled last year’s sales,” said Short.
Short explained the event was started in 2013, in honour and memory of Kendra Pike from West St. Modeste, a small community in the Labrador Straits.
Kendra, who was just nine, passed away in 2010 after a short battle with osteosarcoma.
“Butterflies were always present in her family’s life, especially after she passed away,” he noted. “And her mother always called her a little angel, so we incorporated that into this fundraiser as part of our fifth anniversary celebrations last year.”
Shelley Broomfield attended the event with her three-year daughter, Ryan.
She said she wanted to take part because “being a mother of an almost four-year old has given me a new perspective on how precious life is.”
“When Hannah shared information on this wonderful fundraiser, I immediately wanted to bring my daughter Ryan to experience the beauty of the message and the magic of the butterflies,” said Broomfield.
“Sadly, cancer has affected too many of my loved ones, so releasing the butterflies and watching the wonder and awe on Ryan’s face warmed my heart and made me feel closer to those we lost.”