About 1,100 butterflies filled the air Thursday at the Alzheimer's Alliance of Smith County's butterfly release.
"This is a wonderful way to celebrate those we love," said Mary Lauren Faulkner, vice president of resource development on the board of directors with the organization. "These 1,100 butterflies are being released in memory or in honor of someone you love."
A proclamation from the mayor declared Sept. 12 through 19 "Butterfly Hope Week."
Another event, the Butterfly Hope Luncheon, will be 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday at Willow Brook Country Club. The guest speaker will be Mark Kennedy Shriver, who will speak about his family's journey caring for his father, Sargent Shriver, who had Alzheimer's disease. Call 903-509-8323 for more information about that event.
About one in three people know someone with Alzheimer's.
"This is our inaugural butterfly release," said Jamie Huff, community relations coordinator for the Alzheimer's Alliance in an August article about the event. "The butterfly is a symbol of hope. When you have Alzheimer's, it's like you're in a cocoon. When a person has Alzheimer's or another dementia, they seem to withdraw and become another person, even though they're not. We don't have a cure yet, but we have the greatest hope that there will be one someday."
There is no cure yet for Alzheimer's Disease.
"Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, irreversible, fatal brain disorder with no known cause or cure," according to information from the organization's website. "Symptoms of the disease include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, personality changes, disorientation and loss of language skills. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of irreversible dementia."
The butterflies that were released were brought by Tony Delia, also known as "The Butterfly Guy."
Delia is a specialist in Monarch butterflies and presents for school programs and garden clubs on a regular basis.
"There is a Native American belief that if you make a wish upon a butterfly's wing and release it to heaven, your wish will be granted," he said to the crowd gathered holding their butterflies in boxes. "Let's have a moment of silence and think of our loved ones before we release these butterflies."