Carmen and Mary Kay Serio with a banner in memory of their daughter, Jessica, at last year’s Ribbon of Strength.

ALTON – Many of us know how difficult it is to make our dollars stretch with today’s economy. It seems almost impossible to make ends meet. Imagine having unexpected expenses occur while you are undergoing cancer treatment.

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Some of our first thoughts when we hear the news is, “What can I do to help?” One way is to participate in Alton Memorial Health Services Foundation’s fourth annual “Ribbon of Strength” event from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at Grip & Sip, 139 W. MacArthur Blvd., in Cottage Hills.

By donating to this year’s Ribbon of Strength campaign, you can help Alton Memorial Hospital cancer patients. Proceeds will be used to help patients experiencing financial hardships because of their diagnosis or treatment and pay for the essentials – gas, car repairs, rent, mortgage and utility bills – so they can focus on treatment, healing and recovery.

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You can help by purchasing a ribbon on the Foundation’s website by April 1. Customize the ribbon to send well wishes to someone battling the disease, celebrate someone who won the fight or use your business logo to show your support. You can also memorialize someone who lost his or her life to cancer, reminding their loved ones that they haven’t been forgotten.

These ribbons will be laid end to end to form one giant Ribbon of Strength at the April 11 event. Personalized ribbons must be purchased by April 1 to be included in the giant ribbon unveiling.

This year, the Foundation has partnered with Grip & Sip owners Barry and Gaye Julian, and Jose and Jamie Silva. There will be activities at the golf simulation sports pub to help raise additional funds to support patients undergoing treatment at Alton Memorial. Guests can test their skills at “Putting for Purple” as well as a “Closest-to-the-Pin” contest on the golf simulators.

“We are excited to not only display the giant purple ribbon, but have our guests present in the company of those who are supporting current patients in their time of need or remembering those who may not be with us any longer,” says Shannon Fraley, manager of AMHSF. “This is truly a touching event. We encourage our guests to bring their cameras and take pictures of their ribbon with their message, enjoy the evening with refreshments and most importantly feel the support that surrounds them.”

In case of inclement weather, the event would move inside and the banners would be displayed throughout the venue.

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