Downtown event reflects purple passion

Mother, daughter hope to raise awareness of lupus with fundraiser

Bonnie and Taylor Kassel want you to see purple and think lupus.

The Crystal Lake mother and daughter are behind a second annual campaign to raise both awareness and funding for the Lupus Foundation of America as part of this month’s Lupus Awareness Month.

On May 10 – Lupus Awareness Day – businesses in downtown Crystal Lake, where purple is everywhere, will donate a portion of their sales, as well as raffle items, including gift baskets with items such as sports tickets, gift cards, quilts, art, gardening supplies and a football signed by Mike Ditka and Walter Payton. Those dressed in purple will receive discounts.

“The community just really embraced us last year,” said Bonnie Kassel, who organized the effort in the hopes people will learn more about the chronic, autoimmune disease her now-16-year-old daughter was diagnosed with in 2011.

For every purple flower sold during a Mother’s Day-themed Spring Flower Sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 10 in downtown Crystal Lake, a donation will be made to the Lupus Foundation. The disease basically attacks the skin, joints and organs, and there is no known cure.

A sophomore at Crystal Lake South High School, Taylor Kassel has managed the disease by being careful with what she exposes herself to, as far as chemicals and such, and what she eats, sticking to pure and organic food.

Because of her efforts to raise money and awareness, Bonnie Kassel has made friends such as Regina Villalobos of Huntley, who helped her decorate the trees purple. Villalobos has lupus and was experiencing pleurisy, a sort of chest pain, that day, Bonnie Kassel said.

“I said, ‘You don’t have to,’” Bonnie Kassel said. “She said, ‘Bonnie, it’s empowering to me.’”

An artist, Villalobos will sell jewelry May 10 and donate a portion of sales to the foundation. Taylor’s sister, Baylee, and two of her best friends, Emily Jones and Lauren Jensen, will be selling homemade barrettes and bracelets.

Along with Benedict’s, where Bonnie Kassel works, other businesses helping the cause with donations of 10 percent of their proceeds that day include La Bellissima, Out of the Box, Clothes Gallery, Marvin’s Toys, Evolve, Shay for You and Your Home, Yours and Meyn Home Furnishings, Kitchen Outfitters, Wear Did You Get That and The Olive Tap.

Pure Massage Therapy will offer chair massages that day, donating tips to the foundation, while 15 percent of the proceeds from Crystal Lake Natural Health’s $39 massages will be donated. And Enlightened Balance will be doing face-painting.

Sweet Pea cupcakes will have purple cupcakes, and Clip Joynt and International Hairway will be doing purple hair extensions.

“I want other people to not feel helpless,” Bonnie Kassel said of the efforts.

To donate or for information, call Kassel at 815-341-6190 or email

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