(May 4, 2018) In its first two years, the Love for Lungs Tennis Tournament raised about $60,000 for The Program in Lung Healing at University of Maryland.
Its very exciting. The first year we were expecting to get about $5,000 and we got $28,000, said tournament organizer, Worcester Preparatory School sophomore Abi Plylar. That just blew our minds and we got about the same the next year.
About 30 players participated the first year. During the second year the field grew to about 60.
The word got out more and people told their friends, and they told their friends, Plylar said.
For the third annual tournament, May 18-19 at Sea Colony in Bethany Beach, Delaware, Plylar said the goal is to draw 100 participants and raise $120,000.
A number of players have already registered. Most have participated in the tournament before, but there are also several new competitors this year.
Its very exciting. We never thought it would get this big, said Plylar, who plays tennis for Worcester Prep.
Plylar started the tournament in honor of her grandfather, Ron, and to raise awareness and funds for lung disease research.
On April 17, 2015 her grandfather passed away from the lung disease Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Despite visiting numerous top pulmonary physicians across the country, my grandfathers disease continued to go misdiagnosed, she said on the event website, www.loveforlungs.com. He was considered a high-risk transplant candidate due to his age and the severity of his disease. Nevertheless, Dr. Aldo Iacono at The University of Maryland Lung Rescue Unit accepted him as a patient. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away before he could receive a lung transplant.
After his death, she and her family were invited to tour the Program in Lung Healing at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Plylar said she was so impressed with the research conducted there that she wanted to show her support, so she decided to start a tennis tournament.
Its very important to me and my family. We feel so indebted to the University of Maryland, and also we want to let everyone know how deadly Pulmonary Fibrosis is, she said. It kills about 40,000 each year. Thats comparable to breast cancer.
You hear lots about breast cancer, as you should, but you dont hear near as much about Pulmonary Fibrosis and its just as deadly, she continued. We want to get the word out about that, about lung diseases and about the University of Maryland, because it usually doesnt come up as one of the top lung-treating facilities, but it should be.
The round robin doubles tournament is open to all ages and skill levels.
On Friday, May 18, womens and mens doubles competitions are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Sea Colony. Mixed doubles matches will be played on Saturday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Breakfast and lunch will be served both days. An after party with wine, hors doeuvres and music will take place Saturday, May 19 from 5:30-8 p.m. featuring local celebrity chef and musician Paul Cullen.
The cost to participate is $100 per person, which includes an option to play both days, T-shirt, breakfast, lunch, prizes, winners award baskets, gift bags, and entrance to the party.
Several sponsorship levels are available. The sponsorship deadline in order to be on the event T-shirt, is May 7. Donations are accepted year-round.
Players can register for the tournament until a week before the event.