MANATEE -- It's impossible to say exactly how many people in Manatee and Sarasota know Angela "Angie" Kreitz.
But certainly one can say the number is large given the 41-year-old's involvement in the Hernando de Soto Historical Society, Anna Maria Island Privateers and her work as a personal trainer and habilitation coach for clients of Easter Seals in Sarasota.
When word began to spread that Krietz was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, a call went out to help, said Debbie Capobianco, one of Kreitz's longtime friends.
"Her medical bills are piling up and she just doesn't make a lot of money," Capobianco said.
Rayma and Mel Stowe, owners of Clancy's Irish Sports Pub at 6218 Cortez Road, turned their establishment over to roughly 400 of Krietz's family and admirers Sunday for a poker run fundraiser to help Kreitz pay her bills.
Although the donations were not tabulated by press time, the Stowes said it was successful and they were hoping for $10,000.
"We are all here because of Angie, who is a member of the De Soto family and an incredible person," said Sharon McGlynn, executive director of the Hernando de Soto Historical Society.
Capobianco, Rayma Stowe and others staged not only a poker run for Kreitz, but a beer-tasting (28 different
beers for $15), a Lotto sale, a dunk tank, a silent auction, a 50/50 drawing, a T-shirt sale and just about anything else they could think of to get people to throw in a dollar or two.
The group Skyway Jumpers donated four hours of live music at the event.
"We call it paying it forward," Rayma Stowe said. "Angie has helped others in the past and now we are helping her."
"I can't walk five steps without someone hugging me," said Kreitz, who seemed to be engulfed with love.
"My arms are hugged out, but I feel incredible. This is the best I have felt since I was diagnosed on Sept. 22, 2011."
Kreitz has had five surgeries, including a double mastectomy. She's had five months of chemotherapy. She starts radiation treatments in September, she said.
"I have a 40 percent survival rate for the next five years," Kreitz said. "I will be among that 40 percent."
Kreitz said her mother walked out of hospice care with cancer and has been home four years.
Everyone at the event wanted to tell their favorite story about Krietz.
Many recalled that Krietz created the first handicapped "crewe" in the United States, called "Crewe of the Lily."
"One word ... heart," said Richard Birkholz, when asked to describe Kreitz.
Donations for Kreitzwill be accepted at any First Bank location. Checks may be made payable to the Angie Kreitz Fund, Capobianco said.
Capobianco advises those who donate checks to write, "For deposit only, account 2231105280," on the back of the check.
Information: Capobianco at 941-704-2394 or Rayma Stowe at 941-794-2489.