Wheelchair Tennis Fundraiser is a Family Affair

By Shima Grover

Wheelchair Tennis Fundraiser is a Family Affair

John, Eileen and Sean Heath were all there at the wheelchair tennis fundraiser held at Westwood.  John was playing host, Sean mingled and Eileen played tennis.

Data Technologies, John’s company, became a sponsor of the Midlothian Athletic Club Wheelchair Tennis Open last year.   The tournament is an RTA event and is held on the first weekend in May.  John was at the tournament all day Saturday and returned with Eileen and Sean to watch on Sunday.  No other sponsor has ever shown such interest.

When it became apparent that the tournament could benefit from additional funding, John singlehandedly organized a round robin fundraising event in less than six weeks’ time.  He enlisted Westwood to donate courts, found a wine and a beer donor and provided refreshments.  Although only a small group played tennis, John’s passion for wheelchair tennis raised over $1,400 for the 2014 MAC Wheelchair Tennis Open.

The tournament planning committee unanimously voted to use the donation to reduce the entry fee from $80 to $50.  Players receive a $15 rebate for registering early and another $15 for participating in the Sportable Run/Roll Social on Friday night.  If a player qualifies for both rebates, the entry fee becomes only $20, far below the entry fees for other tournaments in the Truong Wheelchair Tennis Grand Prix circuit.  The balance of the fund will be used to provide travel grants to make sure that all wheelchair tennis players interested in competing will have a chance.

The MAC Wheelchair Tennis Open is part of the Truong Wheelchair Tennis Grand Prix circuit, the first ever such circuit in the nation.  Truong Rehabilitation Center of Fredericksburg is the title sponsor of the circuit.  The majority of the competitors come from outside Richmond, with some from as far away as OH, NJ, WVa, MD, PA and NC.  The 2014 MAC Wheelchair Tennis Open will be held on Saturday and Sunday May 3rd and 4th with the Sportable Run/Roll Social on Friday May 2nd.  We hope you will come watch the exciting matches or play some run/roll doubles and learn how tennis brings wheelchair tennis players and able-bodied players together.