Frank J. DeLuca is a long time supporter, event sponsor and contributor to the Ocala Royal Dames for Cancer Research Inc. Frank was honored as a Royal Knight in 2006, and has been Honorary Chairman for 2008, and 2009.
American Cancer Society
Beginning in 1986, Theresa Castro organized a group of “public spirited” women to form the Ocala Royal Dames, with their mission to “ensure a strong local/regional effort in the fight against cancer through funding research and education.”
The group became officially chartered as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization in 1987 with a goal of remaining a fundraising group with no paid staff and a lot of volunteering.
Since 1988, the Ocala Royal Dames have contributed more than $1,232,000 to cancer research and education.
Along with the presentation of the debutantes, the Ocala Royal Dames honored men for the first time, beginning the tradition of the Annual Royal Knight Honorees.
“These four men were honored for their service, for their kindness, and for all the different ways they have helped the Ocala Royal Dames,” said Lydia Kuttas, chair of the Tiara Ball event. “The Ocala Royal Dames thank each of the knights for giving so much help to others.”
The men honored included Dr. Norman Anderson of Ocala, founder of the state-of-the-art Robert Boissoneault Oncology Institute, and Dr. Steven Brem, chief of the division of neuro-oncology and director of neuro-surgery at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. Also honored were Dr. Edward M. Copeland III, distinguished professor of surgery at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, and Frank J. DeLuca, president and owner of DeLuca Toyota Inc. in Ocala.
Through events like the Tiara Ball, the Ocala Royal Dames have worked continuously and consistently to raise funds, last year raising a net profit of $135,000 to be disbursed this year.
Other projects the Ocala Royal Dames fund range from research to prevention. Through CFCC, outreach programs entitled “Shop Talk I” and “Shop Talk II” serve to educate the community about both breast cancer and prostate cancer prevention. The Ocala Royal Dames also work toward oral cancer prevention and help equip CFCC with cancer-related books, periodicals, databases, computers and workstations.
It is this constant fight against cancer that allows the Ocala Royal Dames to stay true to their motto: “Through research a cure is possible in our lifetime.”