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May 25, 2012                                                 

Butterfly Release Set for June 16 at Simmons Cancer Institute

The fourth annual Butterfly Release will be celebrated at Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SCI) at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 16 in Springfield. The event will be held at the Thomas Garden of Hope located on the grounds of SCI at 315 W. Carpenter St.

SCI’s Butterfly Release is a celebration to support and encourage anyone facing a personal challenge with illness, professional caregivers, family members and friends who provide understanding and compassion.

Butterfly sponsorships are available for $25. Registration prior to the event is strongly encouraged by calling 217-545-2955 or online at Other sponsorship opportunities are also available. For further information, call Patsy Wappel at 217-545-0395.

“It’s wonderful to watch the butterflies flutter through the garden after they are released. To me a butterfly symbolizes renewal of life, hope and happiness,” said Evelyn Thomas, the honorary chair of the event. “Just looking at them makes people smile. This event is a tribute to anyone experiencing these challenges and a celebration of support for those who have walked with them on this journey.”

Thomas donated funds for the garden in memory of her late husband, Gordon, who died in 2003 of lung cancer.

A public reading of the names of persons being celebrated and of those being remembered is the focal point of the ceremony which also features music and inspirational readings. Butterflies native to central Illinois are released at the conclusion of the event, highlighting the day’s celebration.

The mission of Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU is to serve the people of central and southern Illinois by addressing their present and future cancer needs through education, research, patient care and community service. Its website is