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Tennis fundraiser brings in pros

Power To Be and Panorama create love match
Tennis pros Peter Schelling and Marjorie Blackwood will play during Panorama Recreation Centre’s Rally for the Kids

Break out your tennis whites as Panorama shows some love to special kids.

Panorama’s racquet sports coordinator Eric Knoester is spearheading a charity event that will knock the tennis socks off local lovers of the game. On May 25 Panorama is hosting the Rally for the Kids, a tennis exhibition with a wine and cheese reception and silent auction to support The Power To Be Adventure Therapy Society. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with the tennis match at 7:30.

“Our goal is to raise between $5,000 and $10,000 for local youth who benefit from Power To Be programming,” said Knoester.

Knoester admits he has a personal interest in helping out The Power To Be Adventure Therapy Society. “My daughter has a disability and I remembered driving her to Tillicum Mall at 6:30 in the morning and there was a van there with Power to Be on the side. They took her disabled skiing and she really enjoyed it,” he said.

Knoester’s 16-year-old daughter Hannah has autism which impairs her ability to communicate. Knoester found that skiing helped bring her out of her shell. “She loves the cold, loves snow, so we thought that skiing would be interesting for her to try — she loves it. She was just beaming when she came home,” he said.

The tennis exhibition will feature Marjorie Blackwood, former number 49 ranked Women’s Tennis Association player and Canadian National Champion; Peter Schelling, former Canadian National Doubles champion; Robert Bettauer, former Canadian Davis Cup player and National Champion who is presently CEO of Pacific Institute of Sport Excellence; Tracy Frank, former number one ranked women’s player at Auburn University; as well as local players Hannes Blum; Art Hobbs; Greg Diemer and Ranjan McArthur.

The response to the event has been “unbelievable” said Knoester. “It’s been pretty phenomenal to have everybody step up the way they have,” he said.

“Some of the silent auction items include autographed sport memorabilia from Venus and Serena Williams, as well as Steve Nash,” said Knoester. “Also, we have tennis lessons and court time from various resorts in Palm Desert via the Peter Burwash International Tennis Management Group out of Texas, as well as overnight stays in local hotels such as Sidney Pier and Hotel Grand Pacific and many more great gift items donated by local businesses and individuals.”

“I use tennis to connect with the community,” said Knoester. “People with challenges can find recreational therapy beneficial, I think it makes life better and gives them a medium through which they can connect.”

Tickets to the Rally for the Kids are $20 and can be purchased through the front desk at Panorama, contact 250-656-7271.

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