Michelle Holmgren, Public Affairs & Community Relations Specialist
(Office) 413-967-2296 (Cell) 413-237-6743
For Immediate Release
Ware, MA (August 5, 2013) – Flowers create a special language of their own. More than any other flower, roses are seen as the universal symbol of love and affection. For the past 15 years Michele Lariviere, owner of Otto Florist & Gifts, located on Main Street in Ware has continued to further the vision of the late Shirley Batsie; for her roses to provide a lifeline of comfort for patients and families while at the hospital for their cancer treatments.
This year the annual Shirley Batsie Memorial Rose sale which features a dozen roses for only $8.00 will take place on September 11 through September 14. Over the past 15 years the rose sale has raised over $225,000 in support of Integrated Cancer Services at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital through the Baystate Regional Cancer Program.
“I get emotional every time I think about the rose sale; I enjoy doing it, despite how much work it takes, because I know I am helping others,” said Lariviere. “When you go through very difficult times, it changes your attitude about life. For me it opened my eyes about how precious every moment is. I became much more sensitive to the burdens other people carry daily,” she said. “I like to think that I am doing my best to support our community through the Rose Sale.”
Lariviere credits the many volunteers who support her year after year for making this event possible. “They do a myriad of tasks that support the rose sale, including preparing thousands of roses late into the evening for the following day’s sale, and selling the roses at many locations through out the surrounding area,” she said.
The Ware Football team has become a vital part of this annual event. “They report to the store every morning before class to help us to bring the buckets of roses from the coolers out onto the streets,” said Lariviere. “They also help organize and load the delivery trucks which arrive daily and sometimes carry more than 200 dozen roses to each location. Their strength is absolutely necessary to complete the process of the rose sale,” she added. “This is a great group of kids and their families and school should take great pride in them for the work they do in school, on the field and in the community!”
Over the past 15 years, well over one million roses have been sold to support local cancer care through this annual sale. “I think about how the rose sale offers so many people an affordable opportunity to give someone flowers to brighten their day, while generating proceeds that help our hospital to keep cancer care local.
“The Baystate Regional Cancer Program is fortunate to have so many community business owners like Michele who support Integrated Cancer Services at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital year after year,” said Lori Tuttle, RN, Program Manager. “We have all been touched by cancer in some way and it is so important for patients and their families to be able to receive cancer care close to home during such a difficult time in their lives. The Oncology staff looks forward to helping with the rose sale every year, whether we are prepping the roses or selling them in the hospital lobby or on Main Street."
“As a local business owner, I want to be sure that our community knows how much I appreciate their support not only during the rose sale but also their valued business all year long. I am grateful to be a part of the history of Ware; Otto Florist has been in business since 1927,” said Lariviere. “It’s an honor to continue to be part of so many personal events; whether it's an anniversary, an apology, a birthday, a new baby, a get well, a memorial or a fundraiser to support our local hospital, I take great pride in being your local florist,” said Lariviere.
The Baystate Regional Cancer Program at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital provides access to expert Physician Specialists who offer the most current cancer care, including evaluations, diagnostic treatment and national research protocols. A team of Certified Oncology Nurses provide chemotherapy services, blood product transfusions, palliative care, counseling and support, joined by clinical social workers who provide counseling, education and support groups for patients, their families and caregivers.