Harbor Bay Club Hosts Cancer Benefit

Courtesy photo - Participants in the May 31 Rally for the Cure at Harbor Bay Club helped raise $3,300 for cancer research.

The sight of professional tennis players clad in pink, a barbecue to the side, a raffle and participants with smiles all around marked the success of the first Rally for the Cure at the Harbor Bay Club. 

University of California, Davis, graduate and professional tennis player Chris Aria organized this fundraiser on Saturday, May 31, with the support of the nonprofit Susan G. Komen Foundation.  

The Susan G. Komen Foundation has raised more than $1.5 billion to combat breast cancer. Its outreach program, Rally for the Cure, provides the means for individuals like Aria to host fundraisers, ranging from golf tournaments to hikes.

For Aria, the motivation to hold this event was primarily personal. “In my life, an influx of people close to me have been diagnosed with cancer and suffer or die from the disease,” Aria said. ”I found out about the Susan G. Komen Foundation and thought it was my way to do something proactive to help people.” 

Aria contacted the foundation and gained the support of the Harbor Bay Club. He then reached out to professional tennis players, asking them to participate in pro-am tournaments. These contests give amateurs the chance to compete against top-ranked athletes. Aria also asked people to donate raffle prizes to event participants. Donors included Jim Coyne, Hein Tu; Harbor Bay Club massage therapist Edward Magnon; Paul Torricelli; Neil Rothenberg from the Wilson advisory staff, UC Davis Athletics and Tamara Ramos from the United Tennis Association, NorCal.

The foundation provided event decorations, goodie bags containing prizes that included Rally for the Cure pins and informational flyers about breast cancer. 

The event attracted more than 50 participants with 26 tennis players and 10 recruited professionals, including five former UC Davis tennis players. Aria raised a total of $3,300.

“I more than doubled my humble initial goal of $1,000,”  he said. “I want to make this an annual event and am planning one for next year. It is one of my personal goals to raise $100,000 for cancer research during my life.”

In retrospect, his pride stems from the fact that he was able to take advantage of his reputation as a well-established tennis player.

“I was able to use my reputation and put it to a great cause and it worked out really well,” he said.

Janet Chen is an Alameda Sun intern. She can be reached via editor@alamedasun.com.

Courtesy photo - Chris Aria