SUN CITY CENTER Cypress Creek Golf Club will be turned into a casino tonight as area high rollers play the odds for some nifty prizes to help a good cause.
Sun City Pacifica Senior Living is hosting A Night at Casino Royale from 5 to 8 p.m. to benefit Samaritan's Alzheimer's Auxiliary, a nonprofit group providing free, short-term relief for folks caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's.
"When we decided to do this fundraiser I immediately thought of Dolores Berens and Samaritan Services because all the proceeds stay in the community," said Heather Campese, community relations coordinator for Sun City Pacifica Senior Living. "The auxiliary provides a much needed break to caregivers who work tirelessly without a break.
"The latest studies show 66 percent of all caregivers will pass away before the patient they're caring for."
The event is intended to show folks a good time, raise much-needed funds and build awareness of an acute need in the community.
The Florida Casino Co. is providing actual gaming equipment such as a roulette wheel and craps table, professional dealers and a pit boss. Admission is $15 per person or $25 per couple.
Guests will receive an initial stash of $1,000 in fake cash to purchase chips for starting game play. Depending on their luck, guests can purchase additional funny money throughout the evening. At the end of the night their chips will be converted to raffle tickets for a chance to win assorted gift baskets provided by participating sponsors. These include Infinity Home Care, Sun Towers, Sun City Center Funeral Home, Mountcastle Vein Center, JSA Medical, The Skin Cancer Centers, elder attorney Amanda Wolf, Aging Care Advocates, A+ Hearing Center, Senior Helpers, Palm Garden and Sun Labs.
DJ Gary will provide the background music as folks nosh on free appetizers and place their wagers, while Ed Booth of Huth & Booth Photography documents the festivities.
All proceeds from ticket sales got to the auxiliary.
"The group is totally self-sufficient," said Berens, founder of the respite care group. "We rely on donations from the greater Sun City Center community, area houses of worship and special purpose grants from the Community Foundation and Interfaith Council."
The need for services keeps growing.
"There seems to be a reluctance on the part of caregivers to ask for help," Campese said. "They become isolated and that takes a tremendous toll. It's so important for them to feel they're not alone."
That's why the auxiliary is there, Berens said.
"We're the best-kept secret in Sun City Center," she said. "We're only a phone call away. We encourage caregivers to call us before they're stressed out beyond help."
Services include free, temporary respite care for the caregiver as follows: The patient can go an assisted living facility, have care in the home or attend a senior day program at no charge. All expenses are covered by the auxiliary. Call Samaritan Services for specific details.
The auxiliary also hosts free, support group meetings the first Wednesday of every month at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 701 Valley Forge Blvd.
For additional information or to make a tax-deductible donation, call (813) 634-9283.
Cypress Creek Golf Club is at 1011 Cypress Village Blvd., Ruskin.