Huntington Lakes residents raise money, awareness for cancer research

For residents at Huntington Lakes, raising money to fight cancer has gotten personal.

Valerie Burett and Harriet Gould are cancer survivors, and they are giving their Delray Beach community’s newest fundraising effort their heart and soul.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday through March 10 at the Big Apple Flea Market in Delray Beach, volunteers will be collecting women’s clothing that is clean, pressed and on hangers as well as excellent condition accessories and handbags. Then, those items will be sold at the flea market from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on March 10 and 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on March 11 with 100 percent of the money going to the Pap Corps.

This event, which was Gould’s idea because of her background in the fashion world, is one of several that the residents put on each year for Pap Corps, a fundraising arm for the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Each year, the Huntington Lakes chapter hosts a fashion show, raffles, lectures, card parties and luncheons, and now the the hope is to grow this first-time event into a yearly fundraising success.

“There’s something humbling about working for people who can’t work for themselves, and every time we lose somebody, it hurts on a personal level,” said Burett, who is the fundraising chair for the Huntington Lakes chapter of the Pap Corps.

The Pap Corps, whose motto is “to imagine and help create a world without cancer,” is a not-for-profit that raises money through its 53 chapters with 23,000 members who help raise about $6 million to $7 million annually through 500 events a year, said David Bakelman, the chief executive officer of Pap Corps.

The nonprofit takes care of the administrative end, which frees up the chapters to focus on fundraising.

“We’re only as good as our chapters,” Bakelman said.

And the Huntington Lakes members are excited about their new fundraising event. Gould, who is the chair for this event, thought of the idea after helping her daughter start a consignment business after she retired from a long career with a German women’s clothing company called Mondi.

As she describes what they are looking for, Gould makes one point clear.

“This isn’t a rummage sale,” she said. “If it is not good enough, we don’t take it.”

The women have collected hundreds of items, and they are looking to collect about 3,000 pieces of clothing.

With the help of other volunteers, they will price those items from $1 up before the sale in March.

Huntington Lakes in Delray Beach is a community with about 2,100 units and about 3,500 people. Of those residents, about 600 people are members of the Pap Corps chapter.

Gould said she loves being a part of the team to help raise money to stop cancer.

“It’s (about) seeing that you’re raising money to find a cure for cancer, and it’s the camaraderie with women who want to do something,” she said.

Burret’s passion is also immense because she is a three-year survivor of stage 4 ovarian cancer, and she wants to help others fight a similar battle.

“Miracles can happen,” she said.

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