Center Stage

Thanks to a variety of community events this fall, La Palmera guests will have lots of ways to learn – and help others.

By: Sarona Winfrey

In addition to being the Coastal Bend’s premier shopping and leisure destination, La Palmera also serves as a frequent location for community events. This fall is no exception.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and La Palmera is once again teaming up with the Ready or Not Foundation and other local organizations to raise awareness – and funds – for all forms of pediatric cancer through Ready. Set. Gold. Gold is the color associated with pediatric cancer, which affects more than 15,000 children under the age of 19 annually, with roughly 2,000 losing their fight to some form of pediatric cancer every year.

Throughout September, La Palmera shoppers will see touches of gold through the mall, as well as special events benefitting pediatric cancer research. One of the recurring events is a unique tree standing more than 10 feet tall in Center Court that individuals can fill with “golden” leaves through minimum $1 donations per leaf.

Other activities include a special Tide Turners Kids Club event for kids 5 and under on Tuesday, Sept. 5, from 10 a.m. to noon in Center Court near the tree. This event will include children’s activities spotlighting awareness and support for those affected by pediatric cancer. There will be other special children’s events scheduled, as well.

La Palmera’s partner in Ready. Set. Gold. is the Corpus Christi-based Ready or Not Foundation, founded by Barbara Canales following the 2006 diagnosis of her daughter, Jackie’s, brain tumor at age 6. The life-changing ordeal inspired Canales to start the Ready or Not Foundation, which has delivered an unprecedented 100 percent of donations and matching grants — more than $2 million to date — to pediatric brain cancer research.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and La Palmera will commemorate it with a month-long awareness campaign. Shoppers will find the traditional pink elements throughout the mall, including pink ribbon-wrapped palm trees in front of La Palmera, as a reminder of the fight to end breast cancer.

Events designed to raise donations as well as awareness will also be scheduled throughout the month, including a Handbags for Hope designer purse bingo event on Thursday, Oct. 5. Organized by the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, the event will be held in Center Court from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. In addition to donated designer purses awarded as prizes for each bingo game played, the unique event also includes other upscale donated items such as designer wallets, keychains, sunglasses, jewelry and other items to be awarded to door prize and raffle winners. Proceeds from Making Strides events provide cancer patients assistance with transportation to treatment and lodging, as well as wigs and other services.

Shoppers can also support Corpus Christi firefighters in their efforts to help battle cancer through the Corpus Christi Firefighters C.A.R.E. (Cancer Awareness and Relief Efforts) at La Palmera. The group will be onsite Saturday, Sept. 30, Oct. 7 and Oct. 14, selling their signature pink T-shirts with proceeds going to assist local cancer-fighting organizations. The group sells 8,500 to 10,000 shirts a year on average, with many of those being sold at La Palmera. Since 2009, the 501(c)(3) organization has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars locally through the T-shirt sales.

“Our goal each year is to help local organizations with these important cancer awareness efforts,” said Fred Walters, vice president and general manager of La Palmera. “We work closely with our partners in the community to create successful events and raise awareness with our more than 650,000 monthly visitors here at La Palmera.”

In addition to cancer awareness events, young chess whizzes will also be taking center stage this fall. Saturday, Oct. 14, is National Chess Day, and guests are invited to challenge — and learn from — these young players as they compete throughout the day in the La Palmera Cafes food court. Participants are members of the Optimist Coastal Bend Chess Federation, which promotes the values of learning the game and how it can benefit children.

For more information on La Palmera, call 361-991-3755, go online to www.lapalmera.com or follow us on Facebook.

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