If you live in central or southern Illinois and have been affected by a serious health issue (or know someone who has), consider attending the 5th Annual Butterfly Release at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 22.

The event, which benefits the Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, will take place in the Thomas Garden of Hope, Simmons Cancer Institute, 315 W. Carpenter Street, Springfield, IL.

The purpose of the event is to celebrate, encourage and support all individuals who have been impacted by a negative health issue, such as cancer. The event also strives to recognize family members, friends and professional caregivers who provide assistance and understanding to people with health problems.

“This event is a tribute to anyone experiencing health challenges and also celebrates those who have walked this path with them,” said Evelyn Thomas, the honorary chair of the Butterfly Release, in a press release.

The ceremony will recognize those being celebrated by having their names read aloud. This will be followed by music and inspirational readings, eventually leading to the highlight of the event – the release of butterflies that are native to central Illinois.

The event is free and open to the public. You can purchase a butterfly sponsorship for $25 by calling 217-545-2955 or visiting www.siumed.edu/cancer, where you can also learn more about the Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU.

The Simmons Cancer Institute was made possible by a multi-year pledge by the Firm and the Simmons Family Foundation of $10.2 million. It is the largest single gift in the history of SIU and established the university as home to one of the leading cancer facilities nationwide.