COLUMBUS — Columbus Community Hospital volunteers are preparing for their 32nd annual Extravaganza and fourth butterfly release.

Hospital volunteers are planning for 500 butterflies to be released 10:30 a.m. July 29 in Frankfort Square. Butterflies can be purchased for $15 each, with each additional butterfly costing $10.

The names of those who buy a butterfly before Friday will be included on the Extravaganza banner displayed at the event.

The annual event raises money to purchase equipment for the local hospital. In the past, proceeds have been used to buy an infant warmer, Lite Gate for physical therapy and patient beds.

This year the Extravaganza will raise money for a lift that makes it easier for the emergency department to transfer patients from vehicles to a wheelchair or gurney.

Angie Ramaekers, director of volunteer services at CCH, said the lift will be very useful at the hospital.

“This is a safety piece of equipment for patients,” she said. “The emergency department works with all kinds of vehicles of all sizes and makes, so it can be very difficult to get patients out. This lift is a very safe and great way to get our patients from their cars to our care. It works with any seat in the vehicle, virtually any type of vehicle — compact car, van, truck.”

Two varieties of butterfly — painted lady and monarch — will be released during the event. Ramaekers said the butterflies are raised on a butterfly farm and both species are native to the area so they won't be threatened by the environment.

Ramaekers went on to say the butterflies are often used as a way to remember loved ones.

“Some people buy a butterfly for the memory of a special time in their life,” Ramaekers said. “Anniversaries, celebrations, memorials for others or just a special moment are some of the reasons why butterflies are bought. It’s all in what the release can mean to people.”

Ramaekers offered a suggestion for the public to encourage the butterflies to linger after their release.

“In the past people have brought their own flowers to the Extravaganza," she said. “The community also brings in milkweed, which the butterflies love. People can even take the milkweed home with them after the release for their own butterfly gardens.”

Along with the release, a mother-daughter team made a special quilt for the event. The quilt and matching pillowcases created by Kim and Myrna Meyer are being raffled by CCH to raise money for the lift.

The Meyers have made a quilt for each year of the butterfly release.

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