EAST MANATEE -- A ceremony and display of luminaries is planned to honor lost loved ones and to top off Horseshoe Cove's successful effort to raise nearly $30,000 for 2013's Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society.
The Relay for Life walk begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the RV resort, 5100 60th St. E., followed by the ceremony and lighting of 250 luminaries around the pool.
"The lighted luminaries around the pool is a touching sight," said Ann Jerman, a Horseshoe Cove resident.
Pastor Steve Coads of Oasis Church will offer the tribute.
Horseshoe Cove residents collected the donation through golf cart washes, hot dog sales, craft bazaars, pancake breakfasts, pulled pork lunches, spaghetti suppers, silent auctions, casino night, raffles of a handmade quilt, stained glass and wooden bowls.
Over the years, Horseshoe Cove, with fewer than 500 residential units, has raised more than $100,000 for the fight against cancer, said Linda Hager, a cancer survivor who organized the park's first Relay for Life event in 2004.
"After my treatments, we decided we should do something. We set goal of $500, and made over $10,000 the first year," she said.
Since then, park residents have contributed different amounts over the years, but this is the first time they've counted as official members of the real Relay for Life. Park residents set a goal of $20,000 for 2013, which they have exceeded.
"For this event we have 83 survivors inside Horseshoe Cove," she said. "About 150 walkers are participants that aren't survivors. We have 255 luminaries. People buy them for $5, and those are also a fundraiser," she said.
A variety of projects done by residents added up to make the total so far. "People from Canada made tarts and sold them. A lady made duct tape bags and sold them, like a beach bag. We had a party of people who donated sewing, crocheting, scarves and sold them," she said.
"We're blessed that we can do this. One of our committee members went home and found out he has cancer and he's now in hospice," said the former New Yorker. "We all help each other. That explains it very well. It's hard to even put in words really. We have a great committee and people who support us."
Carefree, the corporate owner of the park "has been wonderful" this year as well, she said.