Butterfly of Life®
A Symbol of Hope for Lives Touched by Cancer
Promoting cancer awareness and education.
The Butterfly of Life® was designed by Rita Willaert, from St. Peter, Minnesota. Willaert worked in sales for over 10 years at an independent jewelry store, Exclusively Diamonds, located in Mankato, Minnesota. Willaert’s passion for fine jewelry and drive to promote cancer awareness and education inspired The Butterfly of Life®.
Butterfly jewelry inspired by beauty and nature.
Willaert knew she wanted to create a beautiful piece of fine jewelry that survivors and supporters could wear but would also donate to cancer research and education. In the summer of 2005, when thinking the task was too big, Willaert spent her day off outside on her deck enjoying the sunshine. It was at that moment that a butterfly whispered by her and she knew this was her mission for the remainder of her life.
Conveying a symbol of hope through precious gemstones and diamonds.
The Butterfly of Life® was born and the concept has since evolved into a collection all from Willaert’s original design. The butterfly silhouette represents courage, strength but most of all, hope. The various gemstones and diamonds are used to symbolize a specific type of cancer. This way anyone can wear the butterfly for cancer awareness or in honor of a special person.
Beautiful butterfly design helps support cancer research and education.
The Butterfly of Life® donates a portion of every butterfly that is sold to cancer research and education. Willaert’s goal was to raise $1 million. The butterfly has made appearances at Relay for Life events, Hospice events, benefits and more. It has been showcased on The Price is Right, KARE 11, various jewelry trade magazines and more.
Butterfly Jewelry lives on as Rita’s legacy.
Butterfly of Life® designer, Rita Willaert, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in February 2000. She faced countless chemotherapy treatments, surgeries and fought for a remarkable 8 ½ years. Sadly, Rita passed away on Thursday morning; June 12, 2008 in St. Peter, MN. She was surrounded by her family and close friends. Her spirit lives on through her work and her passion.
An advocate for cancer awareness, a giver of hope.
Cancer gave Willaert tools for her life that she never knew she had. She developed a compassion that was unmatched and connected with people in a powerful ways that gave them strength and hope. She taught people who were on the journey to Live, Love and Laugh. She has inspired many, touched countless survivors and supporters and is a true advocate for cancer awareness by bringing cancer to forefront of people’s minds by sharing the journey of cancer with others. She was passionate about empowering women to be vigilant about their bodies, seeking medical tests and advice and warned not to ignore the signs that their bodies are giving them. Her passion and inner strength defines her as a true survivor. The Butterfly of Life® has allowed people all over the world to connect and share with other survivors and supporters. Rita Willaert is a true advocate and is missed dearly.
Rita Willaert, Creator of Butterfly of Life®