By PAMELA CODY
Special to the PRESS
February 26, 2015
Cancer is a disease that affects many lives, but when those afflicted are children, it becomes even more devastating. On Sunday, Feb. 22, KOA Campgrounds on South Padre Island held their 3rd Annual KOA Care Camp Raffle and Auction, where their goal is to make a difference in the lives of children with cancer, bring them hope and help them heal.
KOA Care Camps are summer camps where kids with cancer swim, hike, sing songs and forge friendships that help get them through the difficult times. According to their website, KOA Care Camps mission “is to allow these amazing children to enjoy the joy, healing and freedom that comes from attending specialized summer camps where they can just be themselves.”
Tom and Stacie Brooks are the managers of the SPI KOA and have almost 19 years with the company. Tom said, “We’ve worked at six different KOA locations, from coast to coast and north to south, but we try to avoid the north if we can!” he said, laughing. This was the first year the raffle and auction were open to the public – in the previous two years, only KOA campers could attend. This year’s event offered about 60 silent auction items, 40 raffle items, and a live auction, including gourmet baked goods, jewelry, original art, gift certificates and services from more than 50 area businesses, restaurants and private donators. There were also three different entertainers, with Karl Mathew, Doug Perser and Roland Z performing for the attendees throughout the afternoon.
One of the most extravagant live auction items was a 110-carat Larimar pendant set in sterling silver with a matching ring and earrings, designed and donated by Seas the Day on South Padre Island. The set was valued at $1,000, with the winning bid coming via Facebook from Aaron Williamson of Nashville, Tenn. Another big winner was Edinburg native Nick. After purchasing a $5 raffle ticket, he won a five night stay at a KOA cabin, a prize valued at $1,600. Tom and Stacie reported this year’s take was just under $4,400. Additional donations can be made at www.koacarecamps.org.
KOA manager Tom Brooks recently became a certified Zumba instructor, and a zumbathon was held the previous day that also benefited KOA Care Camps. The zumbathon raised $350 with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Care Camps. KOA is now offering free Zumba classes to the community on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. with aqua Zumba coming soon. For further information, call (956)761-5665.
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