Woman using toilets to boost Relay for Life funds

Woman using toilets to boost Relay for Life funds

CHAMPAIGN — If you find a purple toilet in your yard, it's going to cost you.

That is, if you're willing to support the American Cancer Society.

Jill Rannebarger of Champaign got seven used toilets, painted them purple and is delivering them to yards throughout the community to raise money for the cancer society.

For a $20 donation, she'll remove the toilet from your yard, she says.

For an extra $5, you can designate where you'd like her to deliver the toilet next.

For $20 more, you can buy insurance that the toilet won't come back to your yard again, she says.

"I have several people I'm going to share my lovely yard art with, but you eventually run out of names," she adds.

Rannebarger, who is chairing this year's Relay for Life in Champaign County, a major fundraiser for the cancer society, said she came up with the idea as way to raise even more money for the cancer society before the relay, set for June 9 at Champaign Centennial High School.

It's all in fun, she says, and if it upsets anyone, she'll come and remove the toilet immediately. Just let her know.

She'll remove toilets for those who don't donate and don't complain after a few days and deliver then elsewhere, she said. But her hope is for continuous donations and more deliveries for a couple of weeks.

So far, so good. After her first round of seven deliveries on Sunday, she had seven new deliveries to make Monday, she said.

Rannebarger said she found the toilets on Craigslist, and three were right in her neighborhood.

"You'd be surprised how many free toilets you can pick up," she adds.

A longtime Relay for Life supporter and team captain, Rannebarger said she got involved because she's known a lot of friends and family members with cancer, and lost her mother to colon cancer in 2004.

"I wanted to make a difference," she said.

Rannebarger made one of her first special deliveries to the yard of Sharon and John Van Grinsven at the corner of Mayfair and Charles in Champaign.

Sharon Van Grinsven said she spotted it when she left for church Sunday and her reaction was: "Oh, wow!"

Her husband wasn't with her as she was leaving for church because he wasn't feeling well, but when she got home, she asked him if he happened to notice what was decorating their yard, she said.

"We thought it was pretty awesome," she said.

With her husband a cancer survivor, Sharon Van Grinsven said they've been Relay for Life participants for some time. They've already designated the next lucky recipient — another relay supporter — to get the toilet that's in their yard, she said.

Have a yard to suggest to Rannebarger for one of her deliveries?

Call her at 979-1504 or send her an email to jill@champaignrelay.org.

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UIUCHoopFan wrote on April 03, 2012 at 9:04 am

You go Jill!  Thank you for being an inspiration to others!  You're a walking example of "Service above self"!

bettycat wrote on April 03, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Someone on my block awoke this morning to find their house, trees, and both vehicles tremendously t-p'd, with a couple rolls left lying the yard for good measure (unfinished business)?.   So, I guess it would be better to wake up to find a purple toilet in your yard than six unrolled rolls of toilet paper.   Ironic and silly and perhaps not even worthy of comment......but there you have it....