Russell Ladies’ Night honours late ‘butterfly boy’ Jonathan Pitre, raises $17K for charity fighting his disease

From left, Judy McFaul, Lynn Rochon, Tina Boileau and Sarah DuPont present the proceeds of the May 3 Russell Ladies’ Night — $17,000 to Debra Canada. Boileau, mother of the late Jonathan Pitre, is president of the recipient organization. Courtesy photo by Pamela Pearson

RUSSELL — Debra Canada collected a whopping $17,000 — raised by the women at the latest annual Russell Ladies’ Night.

Organized by the Russell Agricultural Society, the sold-out May 3 event at the Russell Arena honoured one of the village’s most famous sons, the late Jonathan Pitre, who died just over a year ago at the age of 17.

Pitre touched the community, broader region and nation as he bravely endured a ravaging, painful skin condition known as epidermolysis bullosa (EB) throughout his young life. His reported favourite charity was Debra Canada, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and research dollars for EB.

Six hundred women attended the evening — dubbed ‘Let your light shine, a tribute to Jonathan Pitre — including his mother, Tina Boileau.

The skin of individuals suffering from EB is so fragile and vulnerable to blistering, it’s sometimes compared with a butterfly’s wings — hence Pitre was known as the ‘butterfly boy.’ Russell’s Tara Shannon sang her tribute song Butterfly Child — with all proceeds going to DEBRA — at the event as well.

Below, a couple of attendees at Friday night’s event.
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