TAMPA, FLA. -  Hundreds of family members, friends and supporters gathered at a local establishment on Sunday night to help raise money for a Bay Area woman fighting cancer and in need of treatment overseas.

For over 18 months, Kathryn “Kitty” Fowke has been fighting Leiomyosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer. After months of treatment, doctors at Moffit Cancer Center determined that her chemotherapy wasn’t working and discontinued it.

Fowke recently learned of a treatment available at the Lentz clinic in Germany. After a thorough review of her medical records, doctors at the Lentz clinic have accepted Fowke as a patient. Their focus is to treat the immune system as they have discovered that a specific form of immune suppression is generated by the cancer cell to protect it from the patient’s own immune system.

This new understanding has led to the development of a new form of therapeutic apheresis to unblock the immune system, allowing it to destroy cancer cells. The approximate overall cost to begin this treatment that offers Fowke’s family the hope of Kathryn’s recovery is estimated at between $50,000 and $60,000. The insurance Kathryn and her husband Chuck have will not cover the treatment in Germany.

Not only did Sunday night’s Hope for Kathryn “Kitty” Fowke fundraiser produce a large crowd, it also generated significant financial support through dinner and raffle ticket sales at Tia’s Tex Mex on Fowler Ave. The attendees ranged from family and friends of Kathryn’s, to members of the Tampa Bay Builders Association.

LRE Foundation Repair, which is Florida’s largest sinkhole repair company, felt compelled to contribute to Fowke’s cause upon learning of her condition and story. The Brooksville-based company presented a check for $5,000 to the Fowke family at the fundraiser on Sunday night.

“Our company prides itself in giving back and helping others,” said LRE Foundation Repair General Manager Frank Vitale. “We had never met Kathryn or Chuck, but the fact that the Tampa Bay Builders Association and her family and friends are putting so much money, time and effort into these fundraisers for her tells you how much love and support she has. We’ve been very touched by this story and are just trying to do our part to help. Our hope is that LRE’s financial contribution will help Kathryn get the treatment she desperately needs in Germany while inspiring others to contribute in whatever way they can.”