Pickleball teams set to square off for charity

Big Chill hosts fundraiser to support survivors’ challenge
June 25, 2019

More than 300 pickleballers packed the Big Chill Beach Club in Bethany Beach June 6 to raise money for the Cancer vs. Cardiac Survivors Challenge on June 28.

The Coastal Communities Pickleball League partnered with Big Chill Beach Club by having a percentage of all of the drinks purchased go toward the fundraiser. The space was even donated to the league from 4 to 6 p.m. The pickleballers were happy to share a drink while helping raise money for the challenge. 

Don Creel, a member of the Coastal Community League and a quadruple bypass survivor, was in charge of the raffle. “It’s a 50-50 door prize, so how much money we collect … 50 percent of the raffle will go to the winner and then 50 percent will go to the charity.” Creel said the charity organization has not yet been chosen. 

Almost every person in attendance has their own special story that led them to the pickleball lifestyle. Lynn Casey was the winner of the Charlie Marten Memorial Award in 2016 for her inspirational return to the Senior Olympics after her battle with cancer. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2014, had her surgery in January 2015, and then battled through six rounds of chemotherapy. But she says her determination to get back on court helped her get through everything. Casey plays pickleball in the Senior Olympics. 

“I think that positive attitude is great. Keep thinking you’re going to get back out there on that court to play. You got to keep that attitude; you just do,” Casey said.

“Now when I go to my cardiologist he’ll take a look at my phone and he’ll say ‘Oh my gosh! You got all these steps in! How’d you get all these steps in?' and I’d say, ‘Well I play pickleball. This is what I do,’” Creel said when answering how pickleball changed his life.

The Cancer vs. Cardiac Survivors Challenge takes place from 9 a.m. to noon, Friday, June 28 at Ocean City’s Northside Park at 125th Street. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come watch some experienced quality pickleball. Many of the pickleballers who were in attendance will participate in the challenge. 

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