Sunshine Kids takes spotlight during Kentucky Derby event.
Lakewood Ranch's John Fain had not worn a tie in a decade, but on Sept. 5 he made an exception, pulling out an old horse racing tie in celebration of the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby. He and his wife, Angela Massaro-Fain, were attending a Kentucky Derby themed fundraising party for The Sunshine Kids Foundation, a nonprofit that provides group activities and emotional support for young cancer patients.
Fain grew up in Kentucky.
"(The tie) was a last minute change," he said with a smile.
Fain and other East County residents and businesses supported the event, organized by East County Observer associate publisher Lori Ruth, at Laurel Oak Country Club in Sarasota. For example, Willis A. Smith Construction in Lakewood Ranch provided the decor, while Loaded Cannon Distillery offered samples of rum, whiskey and vodka. Gold Coast Eagle Distributing provided beer, as well as cruise for the live auction.
About 50 guests enjoyed food and drink, socializing, games, the auction and a viewing of the Kentucky Derby.
They also heard from Parrish's Art Korney, whose 16-year-old son, Coleton, was diagnosed with bone cancer at 14 years old and used Sunshine Kids as a resource. The organization took him on outings with other pediatric cancer patients. Korney said such activities take away some of the isolation children feel as they are separated from friends during cancer treatments. They were some of his son's favorite memories, too.
"What you're doing here isn't for the parents," he said. "It's for the kids."