Three years ago, a group of dedicated Mt. Lebanon tennis players participated in a tournament that benefitted cystic fibrosis. The women loved the event and thought how much fun it would be to have a charitable tournament here.
Six months later, they put together Serve2Cure, with three days of tennis and 125 participants.
“Of course our cause would be cancer,” says organizer Elizabeth Rychcik; each of the volunteers is either a cancer survivor or one degree away from one. In the first two years, the group raised a total of $30,000 for the American Cancer Society.
This year’s tournament will be Friday, September 20, through Sunday, September 22 and will benefit Gilda’s Club Western Pennsylvania, a nonprofit agency in the Strip District where anyone touched by cancer can go to learn, talk or just forget about cancer for a while.
The tournament will feature pro matches to watch, as well as doubles tournament categories for all adults who want to play: men’s, women’s, mixed doubles and seniors. In fact, the group is stepping up the effort to include more seniors this year. And they moved the event from summer to September in the hopes that fewer people would be away on vacation.
“It should be a really good time,” says organizer Bridget Pingielski. In addition to the matches, players can have their serve speed clocked on a radar gun and participate in a cardio tennis class. Players can also have massages and food, and everyone, including spectators, can get in on a basket raffle with baskets averaging $200 in value.
In addition to Pingielski and Rychcik, the committee members include Katy Duda, Susanne Morgan and Lynn Tomb.
They enjoy hosting it on home courts at the Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center, especially because of the high quality Har-Tru surface, which is easy on the joints, Pingielski says.
Rychcik says the group chose Gilda’s Club as this year’s beneficiary because of its strong ties to Pittsburgh. “We were looking for an organization that had more of a presence, where we could feel our money was making a difference.”
Register by picking up a paper entry at the Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center or online at www.serve2cure.org.
The five-woman committee does the majority of the planning but come tournament weekend, they need an army of volunteers. If you or your group would like to help, or if you have questions about the tournament, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year’s sponsors include Rhodes Group with the website work donated by Tom Diamond of First Floor Media. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, email Tomb at email@example.com.
The biggest challenge for the organizers is finding the time to get it all done in their busy lives, but they lean on each other for support. “It’s the power of what people do do if they really try,” Rychcik says.