Sunday October 28 was a beautiful day in Fort Worth, Texas for gathering together to commemorate a butterfly waystation in memory of Mark Stanley Austry. Mark died in 2010 from Viral Myocarditis after collapsing at the finish line of a marathon he ran with his brother Mike.

There was a large group of friends and family who gathered around the beautiful garden that will be a remembrance of Mark as well as a “Waystation” for Monarch Butterflies. Monarch Butterflies spend the winter in Mexico. In the early spring, they will come back to the United States to lay their eggs on Milkweed plants. They eat the Milkweed as they develop from caterpillars to butterflies. Sharon, Mark’s mother, took on the task of going through all the red tape to get permission to use the land and construct the garden. She consulted with the Native Plant Society of Texas on which plants would be best to plant to aid the butterflies in providing them sustenance and a place for them to lay their eggs and grow in the spring.   

Sharon welcomed and thanked everyone for attending. Gen Rumore, the Executive Director of the Myocarditis Foundation, spoke on myocarditis and what the Foundation uses donation dollars for. Mark’s father, Jerry, read a beautiful poem as three dozen Monarch butterflies, that Sharon had obtained from a butterfly breeder, were released.

Butterflies are considered to be symbols of loved ones who have died coming back to visit them. On the day of the commemoration, there were many butterflies dining on the nectar of the plants. Many of the gatherers were commenting that they have never seen so many butterflies in one place! What a beautiful way to memorialize a loved one and attract and feed butterflies!

After the ceremony, there was a reception at the Austry home where cookies and cakes shaped like butterflies were served and more discussion on myocarditis occurred.

Thank you Sharon, for all your hard work, and for helping beautify the landscape in memory of Mark.


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