UPPER SANDUSKY - Bill Webster is to host a benefit in memory of his infant daughter, Shailee Jo Webster, at 4 p.m. July 10 in Stepping Stone Park, Upper Sandusky. Shailee was born in 2009 with a condition called mosaic Cri Du Chat syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that causes breathing difficulties. Patients make a wheezing sound that resembles the cry of a cat. She only lived about 2 months.
In past years, the fundraiser has been a music concert, but the family has chosen a butterfly release for 2012.
Webster said he is working with a company that arranges live releases for weddings and other occasions. He didn't want to launch balloons because they can pose environmental hazards when they come down.
Shailee Jo Webster
He wanted something more nature-friendly.
"This just seemed like a beautiful idea," Webster said. "A lot of what we've done in the past that has reminded us of Shailee have been butterflies. My sister had a dream about butterflies after (Shailee Jo) passed and, within that same week, we had butterflies here in the yard that came up and landed on two of my kids and just sat there."
For $5, a person can buy a butterfly in memory of a loved one who has died or who is battling illness. Each memorial comes with a painted lady butterfly and a personalized release envelope. The family will release butterflies for those who cannot attend.
Half of the funds are to go into the Shailee Jo Webster Fund.
The proceeds from the event are to be devoted to obtaining nonprofit status so that Shailee's fund can be eligible for grant funding to do more ambitions projects. Webster said the basic application fee for tax-exempt status is $400 with another $95 processing fee and $125 articles of incorporation processing fee. The Websters want to establish a food pantry and clothing bank to serve Wyandot and Hardin counties.
"We actually took some clothes to some victims of a fire here in town last week," Webster said.
He chose chose July 10 because it is the anniversary of Shailee's death. Stepping Stones Park is located on CR 47, east of Upper Sandusky along the Sandusky River, near a golf course.
"Stepping Stones is actually a really beautiful park. It's got a huge open area where they've got walking routes and bicycle routes. It's a really pretty place," Webster said.