Saturday, September 22, 2018
Events

Woman honors mother with American Cancer Society fundraiser

NEW PORT RICHEY — When Cindy Gwinn wanted to do something to honor her mother, who died of lung cancer, she turned to the nonprofit organization where she had done a college internship nearly 30 years ago.

The 50-year-old owner of Suncoast Gymnastics Academy in Odessa contacted the American Cancer Society and last year organized the first Uncorked and Uncapped for the Cause fundraiser, with such attractions as beer and wine tastings, a seated dinner and an auction.

The second annual version of the event will take place Saturday at the Verizon Event Center in New Port Richey.

Gwinn was a gymnast at Western Michigan University, where she majored in health and education.

"The American Cancer Society is so much more than then," she said. "I just went to schools and talked about smoking, what it could do to you."

She said the organization now has more than 100 different cancers identified and assists patients and families. Last year's inaugural Uncorked event attracted close to 250 guests and raised about $18,000, which resulted in Gwinn being named the top fundraiser for the Pasco County American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

"It was really big surprise when they showed up at my gym" with the award, said Gwinn, who started the gymnastics center 29 years ago.

Proceeds from the event benefit the cancer society's Hope Lodge in Tampa as well its R.O.C.K. Camp, which serves children with cancer.

"I wanted to do something that helped local families," Gwinn said. "They told me that my donation sponsored 127 nights of lodging."

For Saturday's event, free child care and activities will be offered at Gwinn's gymnastics center, 11131 Cargo Court in Odessa, for attendees. At the fundraiser, a birthday celebration for cancer survivors is planned.

"We wish them to have more birthdays," said Gwinn, whose mother died 4 1/2 years ago, only three months after being diagnosed.

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