Green ribbons in Libertyville supporting artist with cancer
A nod to St. Patrick's Day isn't the main reason green ribbons adorn light poles along Milwaukee Avenue in downtown Libertyville.
More than decorations, the ribbons are a show of support for Shannon Schweiger, an effervescent and well-known presence in town, in her fight against recently diagnosed cancer.
"She's so outgoing and knows everybody," said Maria Roberts, who navigated the village approval process and organized a small group to attach the ribbons. "She's larger than life, to be honest with you."
Schweiger traditionally begins wearing green weeks in advance of St. Patrick's Day -- her favorite holiday. She'll miss out on reveling with friends Friday, but "Shannon Strong" has become a rallying cry for her and her supporters.
An artist and designer, Schweiger's business, Sanshots, creates photo cards, envelopes, invitations, posters and other materials for a range of organizations. She also has served as Libertyville's part-time communications coordinator.
Schweiger works from her Green Oaks home but is often out and about.
"I think it's through that business that's she's touched so many lives and so many people," Roberts said.
After Schweiger's diagnosis a few weeks ago, a group gathered around Roberts' kitchen table and brainstormed the idea of ribbons as a way to help and show support.
Kim Reimers, who described Schweiger as her dearest friend, designed a logo and quickly sold about 1,100 green "Shannon Strong" T-shirts before ending the sale Tuesday.
"My phone is ringing off the hook for people who missed the sale," she said. "Within a week, it was out of control in a good way."
A portion of the proceeds was meant for the Schweiger family, but she instead wanted the funds given to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Roberts said.
Reimers said Schweiger has been overwhelmed by the support, but even in her time of need she wanted the community to remember another resident, Chuck Pearson, who also is ill.
In any case, the employees at Mickey Finn's Brewery on Friday will be wearing "Shannon Strong" T-shirts, as will a contingent of Schweiger's friends, when they raise their glasses with her in mind.
"This is one of the stories of Libertyville that sets our town apart," Reimers said.