Longtime Woodstock resident Jackie Bulczak, a.k.a., “the Red Ribbon Lady of McHenry County” passed away peacefully at home in the early morning hours of April 22, 2022, at age fifty-nine (“59”).
Jackie dedicated her life to advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS. She was diagnosed with AIDS after receiving a blood transfusion in 1983. However, instead of hiding from stigma, she went public with her status, founded and ran “Circle-of-Hope” a not-for-profit AIDS Service Organization here in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago.
Jackie successfully lobbied for AIDS Services funding to US Congressional Representatives and Senators in Washington D.C., where she had drinks with Senator Ted Kennedy, and breakfast with Al and Tipper Gore. Jackie got the nickname “Red Ribbon Lady” because, throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, she decorated trees and fence with Red AIDS Ribbons along the annual AIDS Ride route in McHenry County.
She is survived by her husband Lou Rafti, brother Jeffrey and nephew Tim Bulczak, sister Debbie and nephew David Lakowski, and her beloved kitties, “Precious Kitty,” “Little Oscar,” “Merling the Magnificent Kitty,” “Sweet Magnolia Kitty,” and “Molly.”
Preceded in death by her parents John and Deloris Bulczak.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Jackies’ name can be made to The Circle of Hope of McHenry County, 1124 Wheeler St., Woodstock, IL 60098.
A Celebration of life memorial and backyard bbq will be on Sunday, May 1, 2022, at their home 1124 Wheeler St. Woodstock, IL 60098. This is a joyful and casual gathering in memory of Jackie Bulczak. Friends, family, and small children are welcome. Hope to see you there.
Family and friends may sign the online guestbook at www.saundersfhc.com.
Please contact the Saunders Funeral Home for more information at 815.420.3030.
To send flowers
to the family, please visit our floral store.