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Southern Charity Tennis Event of the Year Award Winner

December 18, 2002 02:52 PM

Mercy Celebrity Classic
Fort Smith, AR

When the “Classic” began in 1995, its goal was to make an impact on the health needs of the people in the Fort Smith area. Now in its eighth year, it is one of the largest charity events in the state, in terms contributions to its beneficiaries. The 2002 event raised $180,000 for six groups: the Donald W. Reynolds Cancer Support House, Western Arkansas / Oklahoma Alzheimer’s Association, Helping Hands for Children, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Gregory Kistler Treatment Center, and the Fort Smith Public Schools Foundation in support of children’s mental health. More than simply a charity tennis event, the Mercy Celebrity Classic is a six-day, multi-venue fundraising extravaganza. Events include a two-day Celebrity Golf Tournament, a three night Mixed Doubles Tennis Tournament followed by a two-day Celebrity Tennis Classic, the Cancer Awareness Survivors’ Challenge 5k Run/Walk and a Pro/Am Cycling Criterium Race. Held at the Sparks Athletic Club, tennis celebrities that participated include, Australian Mark Woodforde, winner of doubles titles at all four Grand Slam events, Peter Doohan, former touring pro and 4-time All-American at the University of Arkansas, Pat Serret, holder of 22 USPTA National Titles and four TTF World Titles, Oskar Johansson, 2000 ITA All-American, and Mel Purcell, who was ranked among the top 30 in five of his ten years on the tour. Plans are already underway for the 2003 “classic,” proving it truly is a world-class charity event.

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