About the Butterflies

Jamie Ring | May 16, 2012
About the Butterflies

When we were working on the development of this website, the Patient Advocacy team put a great deal of thought into what kind of graphic would appear in the header. The graphic needed to align with our goals for this new website as well as convey the deep sense of commitment we feel to the communities with whom we partner so closely. We felt strongly that it also needed to be representative of our team and of our mission. As we mulled over different pictures, one very meaningful image emerged as the top pick.

Several years ago, an artist and advocate named Helen Walker sent one of her original paintings to members of Genzyme’s Pompe team. A Pompe patient herself, Helen also leads the Australian Pompe Association as its president and is a long standing board member of the International Pompe Association. I could write a lot about Helen but simply put, to know Helen is to know the definition of perseverance! Helen’s gift to the team years ago was unexpected and helped inspire the group in those early days. It served as a constant reminder that an entire community was counting on us.

She sent it to us accompanied by a description, an excerpt of which appears here: “The butterfly spends the greater part of its life in a cocoon, then it escapes and flies off to start a new life. The different types and colors of butterflies represent our Pompe people from around the world. The lift-off signifies the hope and the freedom of life.”

The image went on to become a well-known symbol within the organization—we displayed it at meetings and talked about it during orientation for new employees.  It also helped light the spark behind Genzyme’s Expression of Hope art campaign.  Helen’s painting is now permanently installed in the Allston Art Gallery where all the original Expression of Hope images are kept—an image of Helen’s painting in the gallery appears below.

So, we decided to use the butterflies as the anchor for our new website because at the end of the day, we’re all here for the same reason—the promise of hope for the communities we serve. 


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