CARROLLWOOD — Break out your fanciest hats.
Fulfill Your Destiny, the nonprofit founded by former Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Mertes, holds its annual Spring Chari-Tea from 2:30-5 p.m. Saturday at the Empress Tea Room, 12924 N Dale Mabry Highway.
The event will feature live and silent auctions, raffles, a free gift for all and a hat contest with prizes going to the prettiest, most creative and vintage hats. The raffle will include oval amethyst stud earrings — valued at $599 — donated by Hands Across the Bay. Raffle tickets for the earrings will be one for $20, three for $50, and seven for a $100 donation.
Live auction items include packages donated by Besito West Shore, Sport Fit Training, Michael Murphy Gallery and Pepito Portraits.
High tea will include three-tiered plates with sandwiches, scones and desserts. Guests will have the chance to take home custom centerpieces for a donation.
The event commemorates Women's History Month and National Brian Injury Month. Mertes rebuilt her life after a drunken driver struck rear-ended her on Interstate 75 in 2007, causing a traumatic brain injury. As she slid the equivalent of three football field lengths before ever coming to a stop, she promised God she would spend the rest of her life helping people if she survived.
Now Fulfill Your Destiny seeks to help people altered by injury or other unforeseen circumstances, and special consideration is given to survivors with traumatic brain injuries. Not wanting to replicate other efforts, Mertes looks to leverage the work of other nonprofits, often lending financial help to people in need.
A perfect example will take place at the tea. Fulfill Your Destiny will collaborate with Wheels of Success to reward a deserving recipient keys to a car.
For sponsorship and reservation information, call Mertes at (813) 481-9895.