Every $150,000 donated funds a cancer research project through the American Cancer Society
Who are we???
We are an international group of tennis players and business professionals (many who formerly played in college or on the tour) who love the game of tennis and who raise money for cancer research. As of July 1, 2013, 5300+ professionals are part of our international group. Last year, 1200+ participated in at least one of our events in the US, UK or EU.
Why do we care about cancer research???
In 2005, I was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer – Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Prior to 2005, no effective treatment existed for this blood cancer. The conventional treatment extended a person's life by 12-18 months. I am a 9 year survivor for one reason and one reason only – a person cared to fund research.
In the early 1990's, a New York family lost their adult daughter to Mantle Cell Lymphoma. She had the conventional treatment. Her family decided to make a donation to fund cancer research targeted only to treating Mantle Cell Lymphoma. Part of that research grant made its way to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. After 9 years of research, development and clinical trials, a new Mantle Cell Lymphoma protocol (R-Hyper CVAD) became available in December of 2004. I was diagnosed on January 5th, 2005. Do the math – 30 days. After 6 months in the hospital from January to June of 2005 during which I received this difficult treatment, the blood cancer was gone and has not returned.
After returning to health, I struggled with how to give appropriate thanks to the New York family – should I wash their cars each week??? Should I mow their lawn??? I owed them a debt of gratitude. My children have had a father for 9 additional years – what is that worth??? The New York family was not interested in a car washer or a lawn mower. Instead, they recommended — Do what we did – thank us by continuing to advance cancer research and save someone else's life. And, in doing so, keep the memory of our daughter alive.
So what do we do???
In late 2005 (after my treatment had concluded), we hosted a small tennis event in Las Vegas to promote cancer awareness and healthy lifestyles. Then we began hosting similar tennis-themed cancer awareness events in conjunction with ATP and WTA tour stops – Indian Wells, Miami, Paris, Wimbledon, NYC etc. These were in addition to the events we hosted in Las Vegas. Over time, these events grew substantially and our guests brought new ideas as to how we could increase awareness. Today, our events are world-wide and described fully in our January Update.
In January of 2012, the American Cancer Society approached our group and made us aware of a "Pay If" program. The American Cancer Society is one of the largest funder of cancer research but ACS can not fund all of the worthy cancer research projects. The "Pay if" program allows groups such as ours to make donations to ACS and, when those donations from around the world reach $150,000, ACS will provide us a list of worthy but unfunded cancer research projects. Our group selects the research project. ACS then funds the project and we form a relationship with the cancer researcher.
In the first 8 months of 2012, our group raised $150,000 and funded our first cancer research project. Our cancer researcher is Ryan Honaker at Stanford. We are on our way to funding our second cancer research project and never plan on stopping.
Why do we love this group of individuals???
We are business men and women who love the game and who care about the cause and this just feels so right – we are playing tennis with a purpose and we see the tangible results of our efforts. The members of this group love the game (watching or playing) and care about the cause.
Together, we are making a difference. We are spending time with friends we love and we are meeting new friends around the world who hold the same passions.
This provides meaning and joy to all aspects of our lives.
What would we like you to do???
We would like you to say "yes" if this strikes a chord with you. "Yes" could mean whatever you want it to mean – "Yes" could mean that you and others who care about the cause participate in some of our events. "Yes" could mean thinking of ways to help the group fund more cancer research projects. "Yes" could mean that your company becomes involved in a way that is meaningful to it. We are open to all ideas about what "Yes" could mean. Listening is what resulted in our group hosting events in Dublin, Wimbledon and Napa. We are good listeners and creative thinkers.
We do not know where this will take us. From 2005 to 2013, this group has grown from 50 to 5200 and our number of events has increased from one in Las Vegas to nearly 20 in the US, UK and EU. I hope to be a survivor for another 9 years so that I can smile and celebrate what comes next and who we help along the way.