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‘Swing for Hope’ to be held at The Sanctuary

By Staff | Nov 4, 2015

Lily & Company Jewelers Co-Owner Karen Bell, Hall of Fame coach Nick Bollettieri and Lily & Company Jewelers Co-Owner Dan Schuyler. PHOTO PROVIDED

Beginners to professional tennis players are invited to participate in the “Swing for Hope” tennis tournament, a fundraiser for Hope Hospice, at The Sanctuary Golf Club next weekend.

“This will be my 13th year and it’s always been my charity event,” Christie Bradley, tennis and fitness director at The Sanctuary, said. “I pick one a year and it’s always been for Hope Hospice.”

Since the tournament’s inception more than $120,000 has been raised for Hope Hospice.

“The Sanctuary is very in touch with its community and always does charity events. It (Hope Hospice) became a very easy charity to get behind,” Bradley said.

“Swing for Hope” will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14. It is $100 for players and $50 for spectators. The tournament is limited to 40 players.

This year marks the 13th year the “Swing for Hope” tournament has been held at The Sanctuary Golf Club. PHOTO PROVIDED

Although some participants travel from off island, most of the players are locals. Bradley said for a lot of the players it’s their kick off for the tennis season.

The tournament, Bradley said, will be a little different from previous years. Instead of only being a tournament, she said the event will feature tennis happenings with a king of the court tie-break tournament.

Nick Bollettieri, who Bradley explains as the most successful tennis coach ever, will be in attendance.

Bollettieri founded the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, the first full-time tennis boarding school, in 1978. Now the academy sits on 450 acres in Bradenton employing 500 individuals. The Hall of Fame coach has worked with such athletes as Andre Agassi, Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Boris Becker and Monica Seles.

He shares “fabulous tennis stories that everyone has heard of,” she said. “He will be there and very involved. He did start the IMG Academy and one of his tennis pros will be teaching a clinic on one of our courts.”

“Swing for Hope” will also include a book signing and photo opportunities with Bollettieri and brunch and refreshments provided by The Sanctuary Golf Club. Wrigley’s Tennis will restring tennis rackets with all the proceeds benefiting Hope Hospice. A raffle will also be included in the event with such items as tennis equipment, gift certificates and jewelry.

“We want to bring the community together,” Lily & Company Jewelers Co-Owner Dan Schuyler, who is the title sponsor of the tournament with his partner Karen Bell, said. “We want to bring all the tennis players together to raise funds for Hope Hospice, which is so important to all of us.”

Schuyler said since Bradley holds a tournament in November, he thought it would be great to combine the efforts.

“She was flabbergasted. That’s why we partnered up,” he said.

Bradley said when Schuyler becomes involved, it is “go big or go home, so he went big.”

Lily & Company’s involvement stemmed from Schuyler’s new found passion for playing tennis after he was faced with the choice of loosing weight and living a healthier lifestyle.

“Three to four years ago I weighed 250 pounds,” he said. “I started working with a diabetic doctor in Naples. The goal was to get down to 150-155 pounds. It took me about a year to loose the weight. The idea was to get off all the diabetic medication.”

When he first started working on decreasing his weight, Schuyler tried going to the gym and playing golf. It was not until Schuyler met Bradley at The Sanctuary that he tried playing tennis. With a few lessons under his belt, he found that he enjoyed playing and decided to travel to Bradenton to the IMG Academy to further his lessons.

“The first morning was like boot camp,” he said of the week long adult program. “I almost died after the first day.”

Schuyler met Bollettieri while at the academy. While negotiating the price of the private lesson, Bollettieri discovered that Schuyler owned a jewelry store on Sanibel, which ended in a piece of jewelry being sent to Bradenton for Mother’s Day. The idea of doing a tennis tournament on Sanibel came to fruition two years ago with Bollettieri and all the proceeds were donated to F.I.S.H.

“He did a nice tennis tournament to raise funds for F.I.S.H. at Beach View and then he came up to the store and did a book signing and all the proceeds went to F.I.S.H.,” Schuyler said.

In addition to the Nov. 14 tournament, Schuyler said they are taking a big group to the IMG Academy in May for four days for a clinic with the proceeds going towards Hope Hospice.

“The adult program up at the IMG Academy is reserved for Lily & Company in May,” he said.

To register, donate, or become a sponsor, call Bradley at (239) 472-5276, or email CBradley@sanctuarygc.net, or call Schuyler at (239) 472-2888, or email DSchuyler@LilyJewelers.com.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.