The annual "Shirley Batsie Memorial Rose Sale" is the perfect time to remember someone special, whether it be a birthday, I love you, I miss and remember you, or just because! Beginning September 16, the annual sale will feature a dozen roses for only $8.00, offering the opportunity to give flowers with a charitable twist. The rose sale tradition, carried on by Michele Lariviere, owner of Otto Florist & Gifts located in Ware, continues to further the vision of the late Shirley Batsie. Shirley had long planned that her roses would provide a lifeline of comfort for patients and families while at the hospital for their cancer treatments.
“Over the years our store has donated the proceeds of well over one million roses to help keep cancer care local,” said Lariviere. The event which is known throughout the region for the vast array of sweetly scented and vibrantly colored roses, has raised over $245,000 in support of the Baystate Regional Cancer Program at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital. “Thanks to all that support the rose sale, I hope to reach the exceptional milestone this year of over $250,000,” noted Lariviere.
“We are grateful to Michele and the many area businesses and volunteers that support her annual rose sale,” said Dr. Charles Cavagnaro, President of Baystate Health Eastern Region which includes Baystate Wing and Baystate Mary Lane Hospital, and the Baystate Regional Cancer Program located in Ware. “Special events like the rose sale help us meet the unique needs or our community and also help us keep local cancer care patient centered.”
Marking its 17th Anniversary, the 2015 Rose Sale will begin on Wednesday, September 16, and will run through Saturday, September 19. This year’s rose sale will feature a "Remembrance Bouquet,” a dozen fresh cut roses which includes a rainbow of colors in one package.
“During the annual rose sale an overwhelming number of people will receive the unexpected gift of roses,” said Lariviere. "It’s heartwarming to know that someone can receive beautiful flowers and at the same time be helping to raise proceeds for our local cancer services. The rose sale is my way of supporting those touched by cancer. Keeping cancer care close to home is the reason we all work so hard at this sale."
The rose sale receives tremendous community support.
“When I think about the number of people that help with the rose sale, it’s simply heartwarming,” said Lariviere. Each day a small army of volunteers prepare dozens of roses for sale, another team of volunteers sell the roses at sites throughout the region and at the store located on Main Street in Ware. The strength behind moving all these roses around is the Ware Football Team who report to the store every morning before class to help us bring buckets of roses from the coolers out onto the streets and into the delivery trucks.
“As a local business owner, I thank our community for their continued 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 & Gifts has been in business since 1927 and takes great pride in being a local florist,” said Lariviere. For more information about Otto Florist and the Shirley Batsie Memorial Rose Sale visit http://www.ottoflorist.com/.
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.