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Published on August 21, 2015

“Hope brings me back”

Wings of Hope butterfly release a beautiful way to offer the gift of hope for those who are struggling

2014 Wings of Hope butterfly release

Watching the butterflies fly into the summer evening sky helps Christina Killough forget she has cancer. Since Christina was diagnosed with Stage II Breast Cancer on May 10, 2012, she has attended Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Wings of Hope butterfly release event every year.

“It’s exciting. It makes you forget that you are different and that people look at you differently,” Christina said. “Regardless of how far out you are, it’s one time you forget that you are sick.”

Held on August 26, Wings of Hope is an event that raises money for patient needs in the areas of cancer, heart and hospice through the Spartanburg Regional Foundation.

“Butterflies are a symbol of hope and transformation,” said Kristy Caradori, Executive Director of the Foundation. “They provide a powerful reminder of life as we honor those battling a significant illness and those who passed away.

The event was created by Jon Jenson in memory of his wife Terri, who passed away in 2009 after a 10-year fight with cancer. Terri’s close friend Leslie Brown attends every year in her honor.

“Hope brings me back to the event every year. Terri had a zest for life like nobody else I have ever met. She brought people together and had a joy that would spread to everyone,” Leslie said. “I return every year, because the release shares hope and spreads a little joy and light.”

Those who battle life-threatening diseases often feel like they have been offered a “second flight” once treatment ends. The event allows patients to feel that peace during their illness.

“At my first Wings of Hope, Jon talked about hope. I had just lost my hair, which was very traumatic, and my physical health was bad,” Christina said. “But the one thing cancer couldn’t take away from me was my hope. Every year that I attend, it means that I have celebrated another year as a breast cancer survivor.”

The event also allows the community to donate to the hospital in memory or in honor of a loved one. For $30, donors are invited to a mass butterfly release. A $100 donation grants the donor an individual butterfly to release in honor or in memory of a loved one. The 2014 Wings of Hope Butterfly Release raised more than $20,000.

“The event is so uplifting. Butterflies are such beautiful creatures and everyone has a childlike joy during the mass release,” Leslie said. “It’s a beautiful way to offer the gift of hope for those who are struggling. Terri lives on through that event.”

Wings of Hope will take place at 5:30 p.m. on August 26 at the Bearden-Josey Center for Breast Health Garden. For more information or to donate in honor or memory of someone, call 864-560-7904 or visit

About the Spartanburg Regional Foundation

The Spartanburg Regional Foundation is a charitable organization whose primary mission is to benefit the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System through direct support and support of community programs and services that share Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s mission of providing quality health care to our community.

About Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) offers a full spectrum of services through four hospitals: Spartanburg Medical Center, Pelham Medical Center, Spartanburg Hospital for Restorative Care and Union Medical Center. SRHS also includes Ellen Sagar Nursing Center, 113-bed long-term care, skilled nursing facility that offers nursing care and rehabilitation services. SRHS provides unparalleled oncological care through the Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute. The multidisciplinary Medical Group of the Carolinas has more than 300 physicians across seven counties in two states. SRHS employs nearly 6,000 associates and offers outpatient surgery centers, a vibrant post-acute division, a Level I Trauma Center, and Advicare, a licensed Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Advicare provides Medicaid services to residents throughout the state of South Carolina. U.S. News and World Report ranked Spartanburg Medical Center the No. 1 regional hospital in South Carolina in 2014-15. The Commission on Cancer gave Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute its Outstanding Achievement Award.

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Upcoming Events

  • Sep
    6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
    Hangar B raises money to support heart health in the community and SRHS heart services.
  • Oct
    8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Join us for a day of golfing, giveaways, and our popular putting competition with cash prizes! All money raised will go to support the Union Medical Center.
  • Oct
    11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
    Regional Foundation’s annual Uplifting Event is a time when women in our community come together to celebrate efforts in the battle against breast cancer.

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Learn more about the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

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