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Dance to Support Healthcare Education February 27

February 1, 2016 9:15 a.m.

  • Featured speaker Andy Bays

University of Illinois medical student Andy Bays of Charleston is one of many that have benefited from Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Volunteer Guild scholarship program.

Bays is very appreciative of the support the Guild scholarship has provided. “As a new dad and first year medical student studying for exams, life is a little hectic, but the Guild has helped put me one step closer to achieving my ultimate goal of practicing rural medicine in my hometown.”

Bays said his eyes were opened to the wonder of the human body while studying kinesiology and human physiology during his undergraduate years at Eastern Illinois University. “After that I was hooked,” he said. “It’s fascinating to see the coursework and real life come together.” Andy worked for nearly a year at Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Center for Healthy Living where he enjoyed helping people improve their health through exercise.

Bays will be the featured speaker at the 32nd Annual La Grande Soirée, a dinner and dance to support Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Volunteer Guild scholarship program and further the Guild’s goal of providing scholarships to area students pursuing healthcare-related careers. The public is invited to purchase tickets for the event, which will be held on Saturday, February 27, at the Thelma Keller Convention Center in Effingham.

The evening begins with a social hour at 5:30 pm, followed by dinner at 7 pm and a dance from 8 to 11 pm, with music by the always popular dance band, Downtime from St. Louis. As part of the night’s activities, Towne Square Jeweler’s of Charleston will once again sponsor a “Champagne and Ice Event” in which participants can purchase glasses of champagne for chances to win a piece of diamond jewelry.                

The committee is also selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a St. Louis Cardinals baseball-game package as another way to support the Guild Scholarship Program. The package includes four dugout, box-seat tickets to the Monday, May 2, St. Louis Cardinals’ game against the Phillies; hotel accommodations at the Residence Inn downtown; a $50 gas card from Lambo’s BP; cash for food; and much more. The winning ticket will be drawn on Friday, February 26. You need not be present to win.

Four other Guild scholarship recipients will also be honored during the annual event including Madison Bays, Charleston, exercise science student at Eastern Illinois University; Shelby Seaman, Mattoon, diagnostic medical sonography student at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale; Cassie Riley, Arthur, nursing student at Lake Land College; and Zach Sanders, Charleston, biochemistry/pre-med student at Eastern Illinois University.

Since 1979, the SBL Guild has awarded more than half a million dollars in scholarships to students in a 19-county area who are pursuing their educations in medically related fields. Qualified areas of study include, but are not limited to nursing, medical technology, radiology, physical therapy, pharmacy, dietetics, medical coding, and speech pathology. The school to be attended must be accredited or recognized as an approved program by the appropriate agencies. Scholarships are awarded for an academic year and are based on a student’s scholastic achievement, financial need and the availability of funds. This year’s scholarship application deadline is April 15. Selection of recipients is made in early May.

For more information about scholarships or to submit an application, contact Colleen Stoner, director of Volunteer Services at Sarah Bush Lincoln at (217) 258-4180.  Scholarship applications can be completed online by visiting

For more information about the event or to purchase a dance or raffle, contact Kim Lockart at (217) 238-4765.


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