NORTH SALT LAKE – The Fifth annual Ardene Bullard OF LOVE tennis tournament ended with an exhibition tennis match between professionals Rajeev Ram and Robby Ginepri.
Despite the setback of the landslide the ruined Eagleridge Tennis and Swim Club’s tennis courts, the tournament continued without a hitch at Salt Lake City’s George S. Eccles Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Utah.
“News of (the) Eagleridge landslide in North Salt Lake is devastating for the families who have lost their homes,” said tournament organizers in a press release sent to the Clipper at the time of the landslide. “We’re also saddened for our close friend and associate Brad Ferreira, owner of Eagleridge Tennis and Swim Club, which has suffered extensive damage.”
Still, the tournament turned into a complete success.
Roughly 350 tennis players of all ages and abilities took part in the tournament. Winners of each bracket were not available as of press time; however, the tournament and exhibition match and between Ram and Ginepri raised approximately $40,000 to help research Type I diabetes.
The fundraising effort behind the tournament began when Ardene Bullard, who died in 2009, had a granddaughter that was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. Bullard spent much of her time with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
Her husband and family started the tournament the year after her death in order to continue raising funds in her name.
Type I diabetes does not allow the body to produce its own insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert food into energy.
It is also typically found in children and young adults.
Every year the tournament has been held, all of the proceeds from it have gone to the Utah Chapter of JDRF. Annually they have raised an average of $40,000, which continued this year.
The exhibition match this year included a clinic, held by both professional players that was held in the morning. The day concluded with the two playing an exhibition match.
Other activities such as a silent auction were held throughout the week.
Organizers thanked the University of Utah for donating their time and space for the tournament.
The tournament, which is sanctioned by the U.S. Tennis Association, is now the second largest supporter of JDRF in Utah.
“This tournament celebrates the dedicated search for a T1D cure and will one day help millions of people,” said Carol Hatch, board president for Utah JDRF chapter. “We are honored and excited to be working toward such a worthy cause.”