Leadership Profile

Monarch Butterflies to Be Released in Honor of Those Touched by Cancer

If you pass by Cedar Crest College on Saturday, September 7, you may notice a flutter of activity by Alumnae Hall. The Cancer Support Community of the Greater Lehigh Valley will hold their sixth annual Wings of Hope fundraiser, where more than 250 monarch butterflies will be released in honor of those who have been touched by cancer. The event will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., hosted by WFMZ’s Rob Vaughn. The event is free and open to the public.

In the morning, families can enjoy henna tattoos, raffles, face painting and more as the Cancer Support Community of the Greater Lehigh Valley sells paper and live butterflies. The paper butterflies, which are displayed on curtains draped on campus, are filled with wildflower seeds that can be taken home and planted after the event. Those who purchase a live butterfly will be invited to release it at noon.

The day will also include a musical performance from 14-year-old, Jessie Ledergerber, whose sister was diagnosed with cancer. Ledergerber said that she used poetry and writing to cope with her younger sister’s diagnosis. “As I’d ride the bus to school,” Ledergerber said, “I would write poems as a sort of release for me.”

Elizabeth Scofield, managing director of the support group, said “this is a mystical and surprisingly joyous day to honor and remember our loved ones. When the butterflies take to the skies, they are doing more than flying. They are telling the story of the Cancer Support Community. A symbol of transformation, the butterfly tells what we do, too: helping people and families affected by cancer regain hope.”

Wings of Hope

The Wings of Hope fundraiser began through a grassroots committee that came together to create an event to help promote the Wellness Community (later known as the Cancer Support Community). In their first year, the Cancer Support Community had six to eight curtains set up to display purchased paper butterflies. Today they have more than 30.

Visitors can buy live butterflies to release for $50 each or paper butterflies to pin to the hanging curtains for $10 each. Proceeds fund Cancer Support Community's support and education programs, which are offered free to those affected by cancer.

To purchase a real or paper butterfly for the Wings of Hope cancer fundraiser or for more information, visit www.cancersupportglv.org.

In the event of rain, activities will be moved to Sunday, September 8 at 3 p.m.