Community is stronger than cancer.®

Notes of Hope


Taking a look back to where Wings of Hope started 16 years ago…

We were a small group sitting around the living room in the original CSC house talking about a way to commemorate those who had been affected by cancer.  We had a lot of ideas but none that all of us loved except a release of live butterflies.  And we wanted to be able to name those we knew so we decided to put names on cutout paper butterflies.

That first year, we held the live release and ceremony in the parking lot of the CSC house and there were 30 of us who attended.  We were fortunate to have a speaker, Tom, who shared his experience as a caregiver. Together we pinned names on 4 sheer curtains and hung them across the pillars in front of the house.  We had some homemade baked goods to share.  100 monarchs that first year and the combination of the beautiful live butterflies and the collection of names and the movement of the curtains swaying in the breeze was emotional.

And so we thought we should/could do it again for a second year.  Ideas poured forth –  let’s name the event Wings of Hope; let’s find a park-like setting; let’s have music; let’s invite the community; let’s have some activities for the children who come.  And always the heart of the day was to honor and remember.  Cedar Crest College was the perfect venue.  The campus is lovely and open and they have a butterfly garden.  We worked with Cedar Crest and decided on the location of the event.  The Maintenance Team helped figure out how and where to hang curtains and the (very) large butterfly kite that had been made and given to us by a retired master kite maker.  Parkhurst donated some food, Crayola donated some supplies for children’s activities, a community center loaned us some tables and chairs, we found small feather butterflies for people to take home with them, we had a participant speak, and we had a drumming circle for anyone to join.   And we were thrilled when Rob Vaughn agreed to host the morning.

That year, we had 8 curtains.  We wanted to replicate the beauty and emotion of the movement of the curtains which had hung at the CSC house and we did.  We had 10 volunteers helping that day, 100 people or so attended and we released 200 monarch butterflies.

And here we are in our 16th year.  Clearly, Wings of Hope has grown in so many ways with so many people contributing but we have always honored what has been the heart of the day – to honor and remember.  Click here to support this year’s Wings of Hope

Thanks to Suzanne Mason for providing the history of the event.