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SBL Cheers! Event set for March 9

January 31, 2024 9 a.m.

The Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Foundation’s 40th annual Cheers! event to raise funds for the SBL Volunteer Guild Scholarship Program is approaching.

Guests can enjoy a cocktail party and an evening of dancing while supporting a scholarship program that helps students pursuing degrees in medically related fields. The event is set for 6 to 11 pm on Saturday, March 9, at the Keller Convention Center in Effingham.

Cheers! is open to the general public, but reservations are required. Tickets are $85 each. To purchase tickets, call the SBL Health Foundation at 217-258-2511.

This year’s Cheers! offers attendees a variety of activities including a cocktail party with heavy hors d’oeuvres, complemented with a wine and whiskey tasting, and music by the Nashville, TN band, 8South.

For the second year, a poker tournament will headline the fun late in the evening. From 8 pm to midnight, in Conference Rooms 1 and 2 of the convention center, attendees can play for a grand prize, with runner-up prizes also awarded. The Hold’em-style tournament has a $100 buy-in, which includes admission to Cheers! There is also a special bounty for knocking out last year’s winner, Nate Brettin of Mattoon.

To further support the scholarship program, community members sponsoring at or above the $500 Event sponsorship level have one-time scholarship naming rights, photos with the recipient during a spring awards ceremony, recognition on the SBL website, and Guild and Foundation communications related to 2024 Cheers! To reserve your sponsorship, contact the Health Foundation at 217-258-2511.

One student who is currently benefitting from a 2023 scholarship is Charleston native Joshua Sipes. Sipes shadowed SBL physical therapists while he was in high school and is now on a pre-physical therapy track as a freshman at Concordia University, Wisconsin.

I am very grateful for the financial support,” he said. “College is expensive, so everything helps. I would recommend applying for SBL Volunteer Guild scholarships to any students in the area looking at a medical career.”

Since 1979, the Volunteer Guild has awarded more than $844,000 in scholarships in the SBL 10-county service area to students pursuing their degrees in medically related fields. Qualified areas of study include, but are not limited to nursing, medical technology, diagnostic imaging, physical therapy, pharmacy, dietetics, medical coding, and speech pathology. The school 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, for the 2024-2025 school year. Selection of recipients is made in early May. Scholarship applications are available online at For more information contact Tracy Haddock, Volunteer Services director, at 217-258-4180.

For more information about Cheers!, contact the Health Foundation at 217-258-2511 or visit