IF YOU GO
• What: Opening of memorial garden
• When: 4 p.m. Saturday
• Where: Thrasher Park, 93 Park Drive, Norcross
• Cost: Free
• For more information: Visit aplacetoimagine.com
NORCROSS -- Last May, 6-year-old Ainsley Paige Higgins passed away after battling mitochondrial disease, a rare and complex medical condition.
On Saturday, Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson joins Girl Scout Troop 164 in Thrasher Park to celebrate the opening of a butterfly garden in memory of Higgins. The garden was created as part of the troop's Silver Award project.
Higgins' parents, Lisa and Matt Higgins, founded The Ainsley Paige Higgins' Dare To Hope Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life of other children with rare medical conditions. Troop leaders had heard about it and wanted to help the cause.
"We knew of Lisa's work in spreading the message about mitochondrial disease and wanted to support that effort," troop leader Patty Mussak said. "We also wanted our Silver Award to be an everlasting message in our town of how people working together can bring about change."
When asked, Norcross was excited to be a part of the project.
"The city is honored to be chosen as the site for this garden," Johnson said. "It's a beautiful symbol of hope, love and the power of community."
The girls invested more than 50 hours of work into the community project, that included researching which types of plants attract butterflies and working with younger Girl Scouts to grow butterflies. Those grown will be released into the garden. Luis Herrera with Valleycrest Landscaping donated plants and joined the Norcross Parks and Recreation staff to plant the garden near a wooden gazebo in Thrasher Park.
"We felt a butterfly garden symbolized the beautiful spirit of Ainsley that moved people to take action and help others with rare and complex diseases," Mussak said.
The Girl Scout's Silver Award is the highest honor for Cadette Scouts.
For more information about the Dare To Hope Foundation, visit dare-to-hope.org.