When Shelter Rock Tennis and Country Club tennis pro Robin Deitch-Nogrady was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, club members struggled to figure out what they could do to help.
“It was a sudden finding. I found a lump, and sure enough it was breast cancer,” Deitch-Nogrady said. “Everyone was a little taken aback because I’ve been teaching tennis at the club since 1993, and I’ve always been fit. You think someone who’s fit and young will be fine, but then I got diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I went through the whole nine yards: double mastectomy, the chemotherapy, losing all my hair.”
While Deitch-Nogrady was at home recovering, club president Lee Raisfeld asked her to pick a charity, and the club would host a tennis tournament fundraiser for the cause. Deitch-Nogrady said she quickly knew Play for Pink was her top choice, and the tournament has become one of the top events of the year for the tennis club.
In the past four years, the club’s annual Play for Pink tournament has raised more than $225,000 for breast cancer research, earning more donations every year with banners, sponsorships, entry fees, dinner tickets and donations. Deitch-Nogrady said last year’s $75,000 was the largest Play for Pink fundraiser donation from a tennis club in the country, and all of the funds are donated directly to the charity.
Deitch-Nogrady and her co-chair, Ellen Fuller, have been methodically planning the tournaments since the start for the hundreds of participants who fill the club’s 20 courts through three rotations of men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
“Basically, [planning the tournament] gave me a little inspiration to try to get off the couch, because it was a struggle,” Deitch-Nogrady said. “It was definitely a very low point in my life, but through the club members and my great husband and the support of the people close to me, I got through it.”
The entry fee is $150 to compete in the tournament and attend the dinner that evening. Fees are $100 for the tournament only and $50 for dinner only. The day will also be filled with food, vendors and raffles.
Five years later, Deitch-Nogrady said she is back to her daily life thanks to her friends, her family and the members of her tennis club.
“My hair is back, I have a long pony tail now, and I’m doing everything I used to do,” Deitch-Nogrady said. “I teach tennis about 40 hours a week and I’m at the club every day and around people I really love.”