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Tribute for N. Bellmore classmate

by Michael R. Ebert, newsday.com NOTEBOOK, October 28, 2007

Several hundred students at Martin Avenue Elementary School in North Bellmore recently released dozens of butterflies into the air in memory of 6-year-old Erin Getzler, a former classmate who died earlier this year from a cancerous brain tumor.

“They grew the butterflies themselves,” said Mary Pallotta, president of the Guardian Brain Foundation, which organized the event and provided support services to Erin’s family during her treatment. “They also sang a song they wrote as a tribute. It was breathtaking.”

In addition, Pallotta said students used construction paper to create colorful rings in butterfly shapes, which they wore during the Oct. 5 event. Pallotta said the butterfly theme was inspired by the foundation’s logo, which features a monarch.

“When I was creating the foundation, a butterfly landed beside me in my backyard,” said Pallotta, who instantly adopted the winged insect into the foundation’s logo.