1888 PressRelease - It began with a simple idea to honor the founding owner of a Tampa Bay-area favorite eatery, but the East Lake Varsity Club Sports Bar & Restaurant's 3rd of July Fundraiser now is changing lives.
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL - The restaurant, located at 36355 E. Lake Road South in Palm Harbor, will host its second-annual community fundraiser and BBQ festival on July 3, 2015 to raise money for Catherine Caceres, a single mother of three, including twin 10-year-old girls, both with severe disabilities. Caceres works in Palm Harbor at the North Pinellas Branch of the YMCA.
One daughter, Caitlyn, suffers from an auditory processing disorder, a learning disability that means she can't focus when there is background noise present. She must wear a special headset in school so she can hear just her teacher's voice.
Her sister, Maryn, was born with cerebral palsy and a rare birth defect, agenesis of the corpus callosum, which essentially means a critical part of her brain is missing. She is confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk, to speak, to feed herself or to write.
Caceres must lift Maryn up and out of her wheelchair in order to bathe. Currently, she must lift Maryn and her wheelchair separately into the used minivan she purchased late last year to transport her and Caitlyn to daily appointments at All Children's Outpatient Center for physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Maryn is a growing girl, and at 138 pounds, it has become nearly impossible for Caceres to lift her child without help. The East Lake Varsity Club has set a goal of $25,000 - enough money to pay to retrofit Caceres' van to make it wheelchair-accessible and to provide the family with a much-needed cushion to cover living costs, food and other needs. The estimated cost to make Caceres' van wheelchair accessible is about $14,000, and the restaurant is working with Mobility Express of New Port Richey to make this urgent upgrade possible once funds have been raised.
Nothing can be done without the support of longtime patrons and community residents who want to help one of their own overcome a painfully difficult challenge. Raffle tickets are currently on sale for $5 each at the restaurant and can be purchased at any time prior to and on the day of the fundraiser. Individuals who purchase a winning ticket do not need to be present on July 3 to claim their prize.
Raffle prizes are posted on the Varsity Club's Facebook page. New prizes are being added daily, and they include:
1. Free Wings For An Entire Year - "That's Right You Can Eat Free Wings. One free half pound of boneless every day for a year " (Donated By East Lake Varsity Club)
2. Brand New 3D Desktop Printer (Donated By www.Ultimate3DPrintingStore.com)
3. Pair of Tickets to Florida Gators vs Florida Atlantic football game on Saturday Nov. 21st (Donated by C4 Benefits Group)
4. Foursome at Cypress Woods (Donated by Cypress Woods Golf)
In addition to the raffle, there will be food and live entertainment for patrons to enjoy at the restaurant during the event.
The 3rd of July fundraiser started in 2013 to celebrate Jody Mohlar, who opened the first Varsity Club restaurant back in 1989. Jody lost her battle with cancer on December 3, 2013.
In 2014, the event raised money to help Joe Arcese, a Palm Harbor father of four stricken with a rare disease, CIDP, or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, pay for medical and living costs while he participated in a clinical study in Chicago, IL. Arcese was able to spend months in Chicago, thanks in part to money raised by the Varsity Club, and today he is back home, recovering, having regained the use of his arms and legs.
For more information on the fundraiser, please visit the East Lake Varsity Club.
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