Hospice Muskoka’s annual butterfly program is now being done year-round as they look to raise funds for their five new palliative respite beds.
“Without the government funding, now we’re fundraising like crazy just to support those 8 beds,” says Nancy Peart-Burkholder, Fund Development Coordinator.
The program previously saw hospice release a live monarch butterfly but that is now done virtually. Peart-Burkholder says with the monarch now being an endangered species, it just didn’t make sense to release live butterflies anymore.
There are four levels: a metallic blue butterfly can be purchased for $20, silver for $50, gold for $100, or glitter blue for $150. All will be displayed on hospice’s website until April 1 of every year when the website will be refreshed with newly purchased butterflies. The name of the person whose the butterfly has been purchased in honour of, who bought it, as well as a brief write-up on the honoured person will be featured on the website.
Peart-Burkholder says all the money raised goes directly to hospice. In past years, they’ve raised between $20,000 and $30,000 with this fundraiser. “Making it year round now, we’re hoping this becomes an ongoing thing people do to honour someone they’ve lost,” she says.
The fundraiser comes at a critical time for hospice. Peart-Burkholder explains they now have eight palliative care beds open after recently adding five new ones. However, they’ve twice been denied government funding. It’s forced them, she continues, to seek support from the community and municipal government. They have received letters of support from the District of Muskoka in May 2022 and again in June as well as the Town of Bracebridge. “We know we full support from everybody so it’s just basic logistics now of getting our ask in the right hands,” Peart-Burkholder says.
Hospice has an agreement with Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare to help fund the five new beds, but Peart-Burkholder says that the contract ends in January. “At that point, we hope to have government funding”