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The newly formed Polo Trace Chapter of Pap Corps recently had its inaugural family walkathon and raised over $14,000 for Cancer Research at Sylvester Hospital.
With 20,000 members strong, The Pap Corps Champions for Cancer Research is South Florida’s largest grassroots fundraising organization. There are over 50 chapters in communities around South Florida and this is the 70th year of the organization.
“For us, this is a big, big deal,” said Polo Trace Pap Corps Chapter President Ann Soranno Carro, who was one of the first patients into the Deerfield Beach location of Sylvester Hospital in 2012. “That was my introduction into the Pap Corps.
“In 2012, only Boca Pointe had what they call an open enrollment where they accepted memberships outside the Boca Pointe residency,” she said. “I joined them and became a patient. Seven years ago, Huntington Pointe opened their membership and seven of us joined their chapter and they needed my help organizing the walkathon because it was their first time an on-premises walkathon and I did that for seven years.”
Soranno Carro said when GL Homes purchased the golf course and started building 700 homes on the property, the board gave Pap Corps permission to establish a chapter at Polo Trace. She said the chapter began eight months ago.
“I thought we would get 50 members and a very small walkathon because it was a new community and we all come from the north, and they don’t each other and they don’t know Sylvester,” Soranno Carro said. “In a very short time, we had 154 people who walked, and our membership is up to 180.
“We just presented Sylvester with a check for $14,000,” she said. “Our community is unique because we are not an adult community. We are an open-age, family community. It was amazing how many friends, family, infants, teenagers, children and toddlers were walking. To me, that’s what it is all about. I did not realize until that day how many residents who are cancer survivors that we have here, and that was close to 30 people. Every penny we raised goes to the Pap Corps.”
The walk was just under 2 miles on the two new walking paths in the community. There was security along with golf carts along the routes with water and phones, and in case anyone got tired, they were brought back to the clubhouse.
“I have watched the growth occur in the community,” Soranno Carro said. “I am an original, 23 years, and this was a unification with the Lakes and the Preserves. It was just wonderful to see everybody not only walking but talking to each other and getting to know them.”
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Soranno Carro said there was an initial meet-and-greet last August to introduce the Pap Corps and then meetings were held virtually and by email due to COVID protocols.
“We were able to have our first meeting in November and our installation of officers before we were shut down again,” she said. “Everything was by email or word of mouth. It was the only way we could get it out to the community.
“I was overwhelmed with the unification of the community and the generosity of the community,” Sorrano Carro said. “We had corporate sponsors who helped out so we could reach more than our goal. When we were first established, my goal was $1,000 and then when we kicked off the program for the walkathon in January, I had estimated that we would reach maybe $8,000. The goal for next year is $20,000.”
In 1928, Dr. George Papanicolaou, a pioneer in early cancer detection, introduced the world to a technique used to diagnose cervical cancer that he called “the Pap smear.” In 1952, he convinced the National Cancer Institute to conduct a massive trial using his Pap smear technique. Cancer activists, known as the Papanicolaou Women’s Corps, began raising funds and are now known as The Pap Corps Champions for Cancer Research.
Among the walkers who participated included Palm Beach County Mayor Bob Weinroth, Kevin Ratterree (vice president, GL Homes), Susan Dinter (Pap Corps board chairwoman), and Palm Beach County Deputy Sheriff Kenneth Torrence who brought the famous pink police car for all to sign honoring cancer victims.
The Polo Trace Committee who organized the event included: Ann Soranno Carro (Polo Trace Chapter president), co-chairpersons Joy Carroll, Connie Rieser, Becky Kern, Barbara Mark, Frank Giacchino, Neddy and Scott Paris, and treasurer Deb Giacchino and vice president Cindy DuBoff.