UTICA, NY-- Hundreds of butterflies were released into the sky Wednesday night on the Utica College campus, as a way to honor and remember lost loved ones.
Roughly 200 monarch butterflies were released as a part of an annual event held by The Hospice & Palliative Care Inc. Development Council.
The event started with an a cappella performance of "What a Wonderful World," by 6-year-old Arya Lints, who's mother recently died. Members of hospice then read a list names of loved ones who have died.
People had the chance to sponsor a butterfly in the name of their lost loved one and release it as a way to memorialize them.
For some it's a tradition to honor and remember loved ones who were treated through the hospice program.
Lorraine McCoy and Kristy Wratten, both of Clinton were at the event to honor and remember Roger VanSlyke Sr., who died from colon cancer seven years ago. VanSlyke was McCoy's father and Wratten's grandfather.
"In the first years it was more tearful and as time goes now, you're not as tearful," McCoy said. "But it's just more of a happy, happy memories that you think about."
Wratten added that butterflies are now a symbol that has helped the family cope with the loss.
"It's like a healing thing, and every time I see one it's like 'hi grandpa," she said.
McCoy even got a tattoo of a butterfly on her foot as a way to remember her dad.
Claudia Jasinski, a member of the Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc. Development Council, mentioned that people often feel connected to their loved ones lost through the event.
The event is used as a fundraiser for the hospice program.
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