Over $80,000 was raised for the Kate Amato Foundation at a fundraising wine dinner hosted by Aqua Grill on Sunday, Nov. 26, and a golf tournament at Marsh Landing Country Club Monday, Nov. 27.
“It went terrific,” said Cary Hart, the owner-operator of Aqua Grill, whose restaurant sponsored the wine dinner. “I have really enjoyed getting to know Lisa and Jeff Amato, and it’s an honor to have the opportunity to help them, however we can, to bring awareness and funding to the Kate Amato Foundation.”
According to its Facebook page, the Kate Amato foundation is “dedicated to funding and promoting innovative research that accelerates the pace of progress in pediatric cancer research.” It was formed earlier this year by the parents and friends of Kate Amato, who passed away in November 2016 at age 11 from rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of pediatric cancer. The $84,000 in donations from the weekend’s events will go directly toward four research projects to be determined by the foundation’s scientific advisory board.
Hart said over 68 people attended the sold-out Kate Klassic wine dinner, which also featured a live auction hosted by News4Jax anchor Nikki Kimbleton. Dr. Timothy Cripe, who served as Kate’s clinical trial oncologist and currently serves as a member of the foundation’s scientific advisory board, addressed event guests and emphasized that funding is desperately needed for pediatric cancer research. The sold-out Kate Klassic golf tournament the following day, which was organized by Alan Henderson, also contributed greatly to the proceeds and featured a silent auction.
“This far exceeds our expectations for the weekend, and we could not be more pleased and grateful,” said Lisa and Jeff Amato. “We especially want to thank Cary Hart and his great staff at the Aqua Grill, not only for donating all the proceeds from the fabulous dinner but for engaging all their friends and customers and sharing with them our objectives for the foundation. It’s an extraordinary network of very caring and generous people.”