Lanterns for a Cause Saturday

Justin Miller

The skies over East Peoria will be filled with light Sept. 15 when Lanterns for a Cause floats off from Dolphin Cove.

Dawn Ekvall, owner of Attitudes & Nail Images, 200 Anna St., East Peoria, has been selling lanterns for the event at her salon and via phone, email and text messages.

“We’ve been selling them for a few months now for $10,” Ekvall said. “It doesn’t matter what it’s in honor of, if it’s for a person who is living or who has passed, the lanterns are released in honor of someone of choice from the person buying it. I have one person doing it for their pets.”

The lanterns will be released into the air around 7:30 p.m. and the name of the person and charity it was bought for will be announced.

There will also be a buffet at the event.

“The lantern is $10 and $8 goes to whatever cause the person wants,” Ekvall said. “My purpose was to make sure that the charities who need help, get help.

“For instance, for the person who is doing it for their pet I will write out an $8 check for the animal shelter if that is the only person that donates to that charity. If I have to, I will write a different check out for each lantern.”

Ekvall has received lanterns for St. Jude, the armed forces, animal charities, suicide prevention and more.

“I really like this type of stuff,” Ekvall said of releasing the lanterns for charity. “We did it for my nephew who died of a heroin overdose. We did it at his graveside this year and it was really neat. We will be releasing our lanterns for Gateways and Teen Challenge, who help with drug rehabilitation.”

For Ekvall, who organized and created the event, the involvement in charity events began with St. Jude.

“About six years ago, I had a client doing the St. Jude run from Memphis to Peoria,” Ekvall said. “He was trying to raise money so I said that the salon could help raise money. Every year we got bigger and bigger in terms of money raised.

“In my heart, I know I want to help all these different people. That’s what this is all about.”

There is one patient from St. Jude that Ekvall said inspired her in particular.

“I have this picture of a little girl, Lexi Helfrich,” Ekvall said. “She died and I never met her but she’s an angel. Every time I look at her picture she just makes me smile. I think about how many children suffer and how many people St. Jude helps every day.

“I’m very big into supporting the ones who actually put the money into the cause and St. Jude does that.”

To purchase a lantern, contact Ekvall at or, Attitudes & Nail Images at 698-8268, Dolphin Cove, who is hosting the event, at 694-2606 or text 258-1230.

Dolphin’s Cove is located at 1111 Sunset Drive in East Peoria.

Lanterns can also be purchased at the event.

“We are going to keep doing this year after year,” Ekvall said. “I hope it keeps getting bigger each year.”