21 Years of Fun, Fundraising and Education at the Paddle Rally

October 23, 2017

On Oct. 16, 2017, the 21st annual Paddle Rally took place at Aronomink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. The event benefits LBBC’s educational programs and support services, and this year it raised a record amount of money: $24,000. Four LBBC staff members, including CEO Jean A. Sachs, MSS, MLSP, attended this year.

Here, Jean talks about why the Paddle Rally means so much to LBBC, and why we hope this wasn’t its last hurrah.

Paddle tennis is similar to tennis, but uses a depressurized tennis ball and a solid paddle, instead of a racquet with strings. It isn’t the world’s most well-known sport, but I think it’s safe to say that here at Living Beyond Breast Cancer, it’s our favorite sport.

That’s because for more than two decades, hundreds of people have come together each year in suburban Philadelphia for the Paddle Rally, a competitive but friendly paddle tennis tournament that raises money for LBBC.

In 1997, Linda Dutton and a group of advisers created the Paddle Rally. It was important to them that the event benefit a charity. One of the advisers, Linda Reese, had been diagnosed with breast cancer years earlier, and recommended LBBC. The rest is history.

Over the past 21 years, the Paddle Rally has raised over $250,000 to support LBBC’s programs and services. It is LBBC’s longest-running fundraising event. It has been a “DIY” fundraiser since long before we starting using that term to describe events created by LBBC supporters. In fact, the event is almost as old as LBBC, which celebrated our 25th anniversary last year.

Every year we see new and familiar faces at this event. Many people have been coming since the very beginning. We so appreciate everyone who comes out to play and support LBBC.

The event is not only great fun for a great cause, it’s also an educational opportunity. It always features a speaker who talks about a breast cancer-related topic. Past topics have included nutrition, treatment options, detection and research.

This year’s speaker was Laurie Hissey, a paddle tennis champion who has faced breast cancer. A remarkable woman, she spoke from the heart about the importance of having information and support, like the kind provided by LBBC, after a breast cancer diagnosis.

It has been our honor to work with Linda Dutton and her advisory board, which has included Linda Reese and Faith Bascome, who helped found the event and have since passed away, as well as Leila Safford, Joy Susanin and Elizabeth Unger, for so many years. Their commitment to women with breast cancer has made a difference in thousands of lives. So when we heard from Linda that she and some of the other advisory board members were going to retire from their leadership roles, we were heartbroken. The Paddle Rally is part of LBBC’s DNA. In fact it is the only event that has its very own line in our budget!

At this year's event, many people in the audience were moved to tears during Linda Dutton’s farewell. She has touched so many in such a significant way through the Paddle Rally. It is a great event and clearly meaningful to so many. It was so great to see Linda recognized for her two decades of hard work and dedication to the event and to helping LBBC.

The event won’t be the same without Linda, but we hope this is not goodbye. We hope that people who love the Paddle Rally as much as we do take up Linda’s mantle and continue this great event.

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