Polo Under the Palms gears up for annual fundraiser Saturday in Lakewood Ranch

HERALD STAFF REPORTMarch 7, 2014 

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Polo action at the Sarasota Polo grounds in Lakewood Ranch. Since its inception in 2011, Polo Under the Palms has raised close to $1 million to help people living with cancer and their families. HERALD FILE PHOTO

TED MASE — Ted Mase

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- The Sarasota Polo Club at Lakewood Ranch will once again be the site for the fourth annual Polo Under the Palms fundraiser Saturday.

Since its inception in 2011, Polo Under the Palms has raised close to $1 million to help people living with cancer and their families.

The 2014 Polo Under the Palms will inaugurate a new non-profit organization called Little Owl Charities Inc., that will serve as the official host of the event. Its mission is to raise money and boost awareness of organizations that support cancer research, education and treatment. This year's beneficiaries will be the Lakewood Ranch-based Center for Building Hope and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The Center for Building Hope offers free information, programs and services to cancer patients, caregivers and family members, while connecting them with others who are undergoing similar experiences.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is one of the world's most respected centers devoted exclusively to cancer patient care, research, education and prevention.

Polo Under the Palms begins at 3 p.m. Saturday with the finals of the USPA-sanctioned Polo Under the Palms 12 Goal tournament, followed by an evening of cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, dinner, dancing and fundraising.

The event was started by the Uilein family, the Milwaukee family that once owned a timber ranch on the land that is now the master-planned community of Lakewood Ranch. Chairwoman Christie Uihlein created the event for her father-in-law, Jamie Uihlein, who was diagnosed with stage 1 tongue cancer in 2004. He sought a second opinion at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he received treatment and is now cancer free.

For more information about Polo Under the Palms, contact Christie Uihlein at 941-928-9296.

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