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Roses For Research

Community Comes Together For a Cure

Article by Sue Baldani

Photography by Flourish Branding Photography, Billie Colson, Rae Ann M. Garrett

Originally published in Loveland & South Lifestyle

Cystic fibrosis, a rare genetic disease that affects over 30,000 people in the U.S., is a difficult name for little children to say. Back in 1965, a story about a 4-year-old child pronouncing it “65 roses” took hold. Today, this alternate term is often used by children afflicted with this life-threatening disease. In turn, the rose-- a symbol of love-- has also become the symbol of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 

For the last 11 years, Billie Colson, the owner of Independence Gallery in Loveland, has held a fundraiser for the foundation in February. Thanks to continual community support, 65 Roses for Cystic Fibrosis has raised an incredible $140,000. Ninety cents of every dollar goes towards research. 

For Billie, this disease hits close to home. Her granddaughter, Mahayla, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was a month old.  

“I started the fundraiser the February after Mahayla was born,” she says. “The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has no government funding and all their research is done through fundraisers like this one.”

Local artists and those from across the U.S. donate miniature paintings and other rose-related art pieces. Due to COVID-19, the reception the gallery usually holds will probably not take place, but people can still come in to purchase one of these beautiful pieces of artwork. All proceeds from these sales will be given to the foundation to support its research in finding a cure. Donations are also welcome.  

Sales events will be held via Facebook Live on the Independence Gallery Saturday mornings in February at 10:00 a.m. 

  • Independence gallery owner