Though I never had the privilege of meeting her, it is easy to get a sense of what kind of beautiful person Chelsea Marie Butler was. The eyes of her friends and family brighten, and their smiles widen as they speak of her fondly. Described as “awesome,” “wonderful,” “determined,” and “lovely,” it’s clear that Chelsea was beloved by many. A benevolent light seemed to radiate from her, warming anyone lucky enough to know her.
In 2009 Chelsea was diagnosed and treated for Lymphoma. The cancer remained in remission for several years until she was ultimately diagnosed with Spindle-cell Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Chelsea worked with The Little Red Door Agency during treatment. She underwent surgery and chemotherapy. Sadly, Chelsea passed away on June 20th, 2015. She was 30 years old. Although her loss is still being mourned deeply, her determination and warmth echo throughout Lucky Rabbit and the community alike.
Chelsea briefly worked at Lucky Rabbit alongside the love of her life, Alan Dumond. However, her true passion was in nutrition. Chelsea graduated with a degree in Culinary Arts from Sullivan University. Gradually she became interested in dietetics and food sustainability. While working on earning her Masters Degree from Ball State University, she was awarded the Perham Scholarship with Distinction in academics and leadership. Chelsea was a force that is difficult to match.
Furthermore, her family recognized how taxing and demanding her nutrition program was. They began the Chelsea M. Butler Graduate Internship Scholarship in her honor. The scholarship benefits dedicated and hardworking students just like Chelsea. Working toward earning nutritionist licenses, recipients display the same tenacity and passion for dietetics.
It has been a great honor to learn about Chelsea’s life and all she has inspired. We hope Chelsea’s memory can live on through her life’s work. Join us on Chelsea Days for a tattoo or piercing. 10% of our earnings will be donated to Chelsea’s scholarship fund. If you’d like to set up an appointment for Chelsea Days, please contact us now. To donate now, click here.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with the words of a few of her loved ones.
Chelsea and Me
Chelsea and I met in the culinary world.. and of course the early downtown bar scene! As time passed around 2009- 2010 I asked her if she wanted to teach as an adjunct at the culinary school at Ivy Tech. We were still teaching out of Cornerstone Center for the Arts and she was up to the challenge of taking on classes. Her students loved her positive, loving, strong female self and thrived in her classes. Unfortunately during the last semester she was with us, Chelsea got the first cancer diagnosis. I remember her calling me to come over to her downtown apartment to tell me she couldn’t teach the rest of the semester. I also remember telling her I wasn’t worried about that, I worried about her. She just smiled and said Fuck Cancer. During that battle I would stop by and bring her food that she would crave (which wasn’t much). When she told me finally she was in remission she shared with me that although her love of cooking hadn’t gone, her love of education and dietary needs had led her to a new calling. She was going back to school! We kept in touch and met for a beer here and there, she introduced me to Alan in the produce section at Meijer, we always dropped a “check in” on FB or via text. I’ll never forget the day we lost Chelsea or the times leading up to that day. I have an herb garden tattooed on my arm, it is a loose replica of the one on her chest, her heart. It reminds me every day that we fight for not only ourselves but for each other. Miss you Chels.
Chelsea was that bright spark other people gathered around to warm themselves. Her vivacious spirit and joyful laughter were the cornerstones of my friendship with her. I know the best way to honor our friendship and her memory is to continue her work. Her passion for food, nutrition and caring for others is something we could all aspire too. The best way for us to do that is to ensure that people who share Chelsea’s passion can follow that passion into service. This is exactly what the Chelsea M. Butler memorial scholarship will achieve.