Sticking to her efforts to help good causes
By Denise Moran For The Courier-News June 7, 2012 10:16PM
Cancer survivor Jean Schabb of South Elgin and her granddaughter, Madison Schabb, 12. Madison raised money for cancer research for her grandmother by selling purses made form duct tape. Jean was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in 2010 and had surgery in 2011. June 5, 2012 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 9, 2012 6:08AM
SOUTH ELGIN — In 2003, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security advised Americans to prepare for an attack by assembling a disaster supply kit that included duct tape.
Madison Schabb, 12, of South Elgin has found a better use for the tape today.
She makes purses, wallets, bracelets and breast cancer ribbons out of it. By selling the items, she was able to donate more than $200 to the 10th annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
Making the fundraising extra special for Madison is that her grandmother, Jean Schabb, is a cancer survivor. And it’s just one of several good causes in which she and her family participate.
Both grandmother and granddaughter will be at the local cancer relay hosted by Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Drive, from 6 p.m. today to 6 a.m. Saturday. The event will include free massages for walkers from ECC massage therapy students, a bungee run, funnel cakes, and barbecue sandwiches made by ECC’s culinary and hospitality program.
According to the American Cancer Society, the relay raises money for cancer research and cancer patients, spreads cancer awareness, celebrates the lives of cancer survivors, and remembers those who lost their fight to cancer. Volunteers walk or run around the track throughout the night in the hope that cancer will one day be eliminated.
During the past nine years, the ECC community has contributed more than $350,000 to the fundraiser.
Lots of colors
Duct tape these days comes in colors other than just gray. Madison makes plaid, pink, blue, zebra, and leopard purses without a pattern. She said a duct tape purse takes about 30 to 45 minutes to make.
Madison donated the money she made for the relay in honor of her grandmother, who has lived in South Elgin for the past 28 years.
“I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in December 2010,” Jean said. “I had surgery in February 2011.”
Jean said that her parents, Floyd Ewert of Janesville, Wis., and Ella Smith of Elgin, both died from cancer. She said it is important to pay attention to cancer warning signs.
“I noticed something was wrong with me in 2010 and went that day to Delnor Hospital (in Geneva),” Jean said. “I had a 4-centimeter mass along my uterine wall. Dr. Carolyn Mills in St. Charles referred me to Dr. Edgar Yardan at Lutheran General Hospital (in Park Ridge). I underwent a total hysterectomy. Since I was in stage one and detected the cancer early, I did not have to undergo chemotherapy.”
“You have to know your own body,” Jean added. “If you don’t do something, you could go past the stage of no return. I want to be here for my kids and granddaughters.”
Jean has two grown children, Ashley and Tim, and two granddaughters — Madison and 6-year-old Michelle.
Jean has been the manager of the Fannie May store along Randall Road in Elgin for the past five years. When Jean had to go in for cancer treatment, Ashley took over managing the store until her mother could return to work. Ashley now works at the Fannie May store in Crystal Lake.
On the team
Jean and Madison will participate in the relay as part of the Pink Ladies team. They have tie-dyed pink shirts for team members.
The team is named after a pink Fannie May chocolate. Members of the Pink Ladies team include Cathy Forest and Nancy Christensen of South Elgin, Maria Bavuso of Gilberts, Amanda Hartji of Burlington, Nancy LaRosa of Crystal Lake, Vicki Montgomery of Elgin and Pat McCletren of Leesburg, Fla.
Madison will sell her duct tape purses at the event. Jean said she will bring two Fannie May towers to raffle at the relay. All proceeds will go for cancer research.
Jean and Madison like to make crafts together.
“We’ve made glass window paintings, stepping stones for the garden, and Christmas ornaments,” Jean said. “We decorate cakes for the holidays. It’s better for kids to engage the mind than just watch television.”
Madison’s sister Michelle also likes to do crafts. She decorated luminaria bags for the relay.
Madison and her family have helped to raise funds for other worthy causes.
Madison ran a lemonade stand at the South Elgin home of her maternal grandmother, Judy LoBianco, for the past three years. She donated the proceeds to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The lemonade stand raised $100 in 2009 and in 2010, and more than $200 in 2011.
Madison and Michelle’s father, Tim, has a Harley-Davidson motorcycle he has ridden during the Little Angels Pledge Run. The event raises money for Little Angels home in Elgin, a place for children and young adults with disabilities and complex medical needs.
Tim will ride in the 31st annual Bike MS: Tour de Farms 2012 on Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24. The ride raises funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
“I’ve been riding my bicycle three days a week in training for the bike tour,” Tim said. “I average 17 to 20 miles per hour. I don’t have any family members that have muscular dystrophy, but I think the bike tour is a good cause.”
Tim has lived in South Elgin for 28 years. Every year, he and his family go to the South Elgin Riverfest Express. They have a regular spot where they meet to watch the fireworks.
“I love South Elgin,” Tim said. “It’s still small enough so that you know everybody.”