Polo in the Pines 17

Sometimes a single conversation can change your life’s purpose. That was certainly the case for Polo in the Pines founder Tina Fowler. In 2012, Tina was at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center with her mother, Sharon Knight, for treatment of leiomyosarcoma—a cancer Sharon had been battling for 20+ years. That’s 20 years of motherhood, birthdays, holidays and life laced with treatments, surgeries, fears and questions. While the journey was often challenging, Sharon always found the bright side, proclaiming, “Life is about choices, and I choose to turn this negative into a positive.” It was that day that doctors stressed the importance of research as they searched for a cure. Inspired by her mother’s positivity, Tina made the choice to find joy while working to fund cancer research that could impact countless families facing the same battle. With her heart of gold, Tina forged ahead and launched what would ultimately become Polo in the Pines, an exciting polo-filled weekend that would fund leiomyosarcoma research in honor of her mother.

So, why polo? Not only do the stately horses, green pastures, and Pretty Woman polo attire provide the most amazing ambiance, but also the sport is historically philanthropic. Georgia’s distinctive towering pines canopy Atlanta, giving it the nickname, ‘City in a Forest,’ providing a beautiful home for the Atlanta Regional Polo Center. Nestled in Vinings on an inviting stretch of the Chattahoochee River, the polo fields offer the perfect setting for supporters to enjoy a day of fun and philanthropy. This beautiful backdrop drew the lifelong equestrian, Tina, and connected her to Jolie Liston, the backbone of Atlanta’s thriving polo community–thus helping make the idea of a polo fundraiser a reality.

Now, five years later, patrons flock to the beautiful polo fields to sip champagne and enjoy polo matches, while funding critical cancer research. Each year, the organization celebrates a different honoree and benefits research for the honoree’s diagnosis. This year is uniquely honoring Saville and Lilia Sullivan, two sisters who were each diagnosed with different types of brain cancer in 2016. The weekend will kick off on Saturday, October 8, where the Sullivan sisters’ remarkable story will be told to a crowd of over 400 supporters with the soft sounds of polo mallets whacking and horses galloping in the background. To top off the weekend, Sunday’s Atlanta Brunch Festival will feature more polo matches, as some of the city’s top restaurants compete for the title of Atlanta “Best Brunch Bite.”

All proceeds from the weekend will go directly to the Sharon McCollum Knight, Polo in the Pines Pediatric Cancer Research Fund at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation. The fund will directly benefit brain tumor research at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in honor of the Sullivan sisters.

In addition to all of their generous sponsors, Polo in the Pines is incredibly grateful to Jolie Liston and the Atlanta Regional Polo Center for making this incredible weekend possible. For more tickets and information, visit PoloInThePines.com. Be sure to give a nod to all the generous sponsors, listed on the Editor’s Page.