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Rockford Ready micro-grant recipient will highlight health literacy in its annual event

Rockford Ready SouthSideScene 2024
Rockford Ready
Rockford Ready SouthSideScene 2024

A Rockford initiative that promotes health literacy offered micro-grants to several small nonprofits in the city this year. One of those organizations will educate the community about breast cancer during an upcoming event.

The Purple Tea Coalition of Cancer Awareness is one of the recipients of the Rockford Ready grant. Others are Inscape Collective, Mercyhealth Family Medicine Residency, Rockford Housing Authority, Comprehensive Community Solutions and Zion Lutheran Church. The purpose of the micro-grants is to help promote health literacy and/or COVID-19 vaccination information. Recipients received anywhere from $7,500 up to $10,000.

Carolyn Gray-Redmond is the chairperson of the coalition and a certified chemotherapy nurse. She said this is the 20th year for the Purple Tea event, which will include a panel discussion.

“We will have a nurse navigator that is going to make up our panel,” she explained. “And what happens is — we give index cards to the attendees. And they can write their questions down. I have a moderator, and they present the questions to the panel.”

She said this method would allow those who aren’t comfortable with asking questions the opportunity to do so.

Gray-Redmond said the event will also teach the audience about health literacy.

“Rockford Ready has provided me with some literacy information. Some actual written information that I can pass along to each attendee,” she said. “So that it's not just going to be me telling them what they need to do but they will have something written to follow up.”

The event will also give participants information about advocating for themselves by preparing for their doctor’s visits.

“Knowing how to make a list of your medications," Gray-Redmond said, "because all of that you should take in and most importantly, writing down what your concerns are.”

Gray-Redmond said Rockford Ready is just one of the event’s supporters. A few others include OSF Healthcare Center, UWHealth, Mercyhealth, and Terry Anderson.

The Purple Tea Coalition of Cancer Awareness started out as the Purple Tea for African American Women 20 years ago. About 10 years ago, the focus changed when the original creator left the city. Gray-Redmond stepped in and started her own 501(c)(3) and decided to focus on all types of cancers.

The annual Purple Tea takes place Friday April 12 from 10:45 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Tebala Convention Center. Registration ends on April 4. Those attending are encouraged to wear purple. Alyssa Ceilesh from OSF healthcare will be the keynote speaker for the event.


Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.