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Raffia Ladies "Shop for Claire" Night Thursday, July 14th, 6-9 PM

Raffia Gifts 'Shop for Claire' Night, Thursday, July 14th, 6-9 PM, Help Claire Sharkey, Hometown Gal, Fight Battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Raffia Gifts 'Shop for Claire' Night, Thursday, July 14th, 6-9 PM, Help Claire Sharkey, Hometown Gal, Fight Battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Debbie Sigalos of Raffia Gifts of Park Ridge is opening her new location's doors to all of her customers and friends for a special "Summertime Fun Ladies Night" on Thursday, July 14th from 6-9 pm. The evening is 'extra' special since Mrs. Sigalos is not only taking time to celebrate her new location at 141 N. Northwest Highway, but she is inviting some guest merchants to join her. Together these four women business owners, Sigalos from Park Ridge, Janet Spiech from Glen Ellyn, Heidi Giammarese from Evanston, and Mary Murray Felish from Wilmette (formerly of Park Ridge), are joining together in support of a young, local hometown 'Park Ridge Gal' Claire Sharkey. Claire Sharkey, a graduate of St. Paul of the Cross Elementary School, Maine South High School, and DePaul University, was and still is, someone that "Lights up the room when she just walks in," said her college roommate and College Soccer Teammate as well, Michelle Magee Elfvin.

But after teaching at St. Francis Xavier School in Wilmette in 2006 and 2007, Claire returned to her 'old sod roots of Ireland to live and be with her extended family and explore her love of her native land'. While in Ireland, one day, Claire awoke to what would be a long and heart wrenching illness that may have sidelined the now 28-year-old 'shining star' of a person, but has not deterred her from fighting her life's battle of what doctors have now diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a debilitating and scarey illness for Claire and her family and friends.

The 'Shop for Claire' Night on Thursday, July 14th at Sigalos' new Raffia location at 141 N. Northwest Highway, just north of her 20-year store's location and west of Prospect, brings four creative and compassionate women business owners together to offer customers a neat opportunity–a percentage of all their sales on July 14th will be donated to Claire Sharkey for her use to pay her ongoing medical bills, which according to her closest friends that have been sponsoring fundraisers for her for the past year, are astronomical.

"Claire's been fighting her battle to return to her 'glowing self' as I try and explain how she lived before this terrible disease took over her ability to contribute to our world," explained Michelle Magee Elfvin, a Chicago resident and Claire's College Roommate and Soccer Team Mate too. Claire's family, friends, and former students, and their families, and her fellow teachers at St. Francis Xavier, and everyone she has touched in her short life, know what a valuable person she is, such a contributor and always positive," said Magee Elfvin. "We're doing all we are able for her to bring her back to her original healthy way of life," she continued.

Magee Elfvin and Claire's closest friends have developed and are maintaining a website where friends, family, and others may learn about this illness called Chronic Fatique Syndrome, and about Claire Sharkey too, and if possible, make donations to help Claire with her escalating medical costs. They hope by sponsoring the website,, "Claire and her family won't have to fight this battle alone, we're hoping to find some angels along the way that will help her get back to being our 'giving more than getting' Claire Sharkey," Magee Elfvin shared. And the women joining Sigalos on July 14th for the "Shop for Claire" night hope people will fill the store and help them help her.

Janet Spiech, Author, "A Little Book to Ease Meal-Time Madness" will have her book, products and programs for 'family focused ideas for everyday' for review and sale at the July 14th Summer 'Shop for Claire' Night at Raffia. Spiech's book, products and program were developed as an outcome of a question a family friend had asked Spiech years ago about how she and her husband handled the daily "madness" which ensued at the dinner hour when they were the parents of four very young children…Spiech seemed to have some of the answers to this 'riddle', and at the time working as a freelance writer, she decided to conduct research on the subject with friends and family around the country. The answers to the question developed into what Spiech has found to be a wonderful book of ideas for a program to 'bring organization and simplification to daily routines, through real tips and suggestions from people across the nation, 'A Little Book' guidebooks, created and published by Spiech, offer strategies for successful home management combined with opportunities to create, strong family unions. Spiech's 'A Little Book' and programs try and prevent the 'mealtime madness' so many families find is creating serious problems for the long-term. Spiech's products include ideas for baking and cooking with your children, aprons for Mothers, Daughters and Dolls (American Girl sizes), and she is launching workshops this fall for women and caregivers to learn how to effectively use her ideas and program. And when Spiech gives her book presentation to groups at libraries, clubs and any location feasible, she also presents the 'history of the apron' and other amazing ideas which are very educational and helpful to all 'meal planners' charged with grocery shopping, planning for daily meals, and simple tips to plan ahead and save time and money in our 'on the run' society today. Her book is 'helping families bring back the evening meal and a peaceful home and family environment,' is what Spiech has heard from many of her customers to date.

Also joining Sigalos and Spiech on July 14th is Heidi Giammarese's Marie Parie Boutique from Evanston. Marie Parie features beautiful 'tres chic' apparel for ladies and women of all ages and sizes at 'magnifique' prices. "Marie Parie Boutique offers my customers and other ladies visiting Raffia Gifts the chance to see and try on some unique outfits and clothing inspired by Heidi's ten plus years of experience outfitting North Shore ladies and then some. Her French 'flair' is focused on the feminine and vintage look with lots of lace, but with a more modern, functional approach," said Sigalos.

Mary Murray Felish, formerly of Park Ridge, now of Wilmette, will be offering her Premier Designs Jewelry line which is, 'Elegant and affordable for women of all ages," Felish provided. "Premier is a wonderful company based in Texas that gives women the opportunity to work and sell a guaranteed jewelry line which helps today's women 'update their wardrobe without buying too many items of clothing or jewelry'. The new jewelry items provide an entirely different look for the customer, for work, play and more," said Felish.

Together these four ladies hope to see lots of their friends and customers, old and new, come out and celebrate Summer and help them help Claire Sharkey. "We are hoping to share a large percentage of our sales the evening of July 14th with Claire Sharkey, one of our very own from here in Park Ridge. We hope all of our customers know we appreciate them and want them to come and see all I have to offer for them and their families this summer at my wonderful new location, and I hope they like the beautiful things my fellow merchants will be offering on Thursday, July 14th too. We are hoping to do great things for Claire, and with everyone's help, we will," said Sigalos with a smile.

"We will have plenty of Summertime refreshments, snacks and yummy desserts for our customers to enjoy with their friends here at Raffia on Thursday night the 14th. I'm hoping the evening will provide lots of fun 'Snacking, Shopping AND most important of all, Sharing for Claire Sharkey," said Sigalos. "All we're hoping to do is help Claire fight her battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. If we are successful, Claire will be too, and we want to thank everyone for spreading the word and welcoming their friends too to let them know to join us on our special 'Shop for Claire' night on July 14th, we're looking forward to it," said Sigalos. Anyone with questions about the July 14th "Summer Fun Shop for Claire Ladies Night" is welcome to contact Sigalos at Raffia at 847/825-7734 or by e-mail at RSVP's for the July 14th evening are not necessary but would be helpful to help Sigalos and her fellow merchants 'plan ahead', reservations may be made by calling Raffia Gifts of Park Ridge at 847/825-7734 or by e-mail at

Contact: Debbie Sigalos, 847-825-7734,

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