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Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Northalsted

After Losing Grandmother To Coronavirus, Lakeview Florist Sells Hand Sanitizer To Raise Money For Others

Debi Lilly, owner of A Perfect Event, said her grandmother was a retired public health nurse who died of the coronavirus last month at 93.

Debi Lilly started selling the hand sanitizer to honor her late grandparents, Caroline and Don Adams (photographed), and raise money for the American Heart Association.
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LAKEVIEW — The owner of a Lakeview event-planning and floral studio has pivoted to selling gallons of hand sanitizer after losing her grandmother to COVID-19 last month.

Debi Lilly, owner of A Perfect Event, sells the hand sanitizer in partnership with Whitmeyer’s Distilling Co., a veteran-owned whiskey distiller in Houston that started making it by the gallon when the pandemic hit.

Sales are in honor of her grandmother Caroline Adams, whom Lilly affectionately called Gigi. Proceeds are donated to the American Heart Association’s research to fight COVID-19 and to buy meals for first responders from small-business restaurants.

Adams died April 16 at an Ohio nursing home. She was 93.

“It’s a difficult time to lose someone because we can’t gather and celebrate her life in a traditional way, but we realized this is a wonderful opportunity to carry her legacy,” Lilly said.

“Gigi would be proud we’re trying to help our community keep their homes and workplaces safe as things try to reopen. She’d be right here next to us putting labels on bottles and helping with the curbside pickup.”

Credit: A Perfect Event
Debi Lilly, owner of A Perfect Event in Lakeview, started selling gallons of hand sanitizer out of her floral studio after her grandmother, a retired public health nurse, died of the coronavirus.

Adams worked as a public health nurse in Columbus, Ohio, after graduating from Ohio State University’s College of Nursing in 1948, Lilly said. She later helped out at her husband’s veterinary medicine practice and went on to become the home-school coordinator in Montpelier, Ohio. She worked with families and school nurses on health, social and attendance issues.

Debi Lilly

“Gigi was an icon,” Lilly said. “She was a huge light in her community, as well as our family. She was giving, full of happiness and loved helping others and spreading joy.”

The hand sanitizer is FDA-approved and can be purchased online for delivery or curbside pickup at the floral studio, 3050 N. Lincoln Ave. A one-gallon bottle costs $55. Wholesale prices are available.

Her customers range from neighbors who can’t find hand sanitizer in retail stores to other businesses looking to stock their shelves or keep their employees safe.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Boystown and Lincoln Park for Block Club Chicago.

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