The Smash Cancer tennis tournament and fundraiser will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, raising funds and awareness for oral cancer screenings and Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations.
Tournament organizer Jason Mendelsohn, a cancer survivor, is a tennis player and former USTA Junior Team Tennis “dad captain” with a long history in the Orlando tennis community. He was diagnosed with cancer caused by HPV, and shares his story in hopes of letting families know that there is a vaccine available, and to encourage people to get screened.
“Tennis has been an important part of my life for a long time,” Mendelsohn says. “My mom raised us to play tennis since around 6 years old. When I was a kid I played USTA tournaments, and attended Nick Bollettieri’s Tennis Academy one summer. Today our twins are seniors at Edgewater High School and are both on the tennis team. Our younger son who is 11 and in 6th grade at Maitland Middle also plays tennis. Being able to raise funds to help head and neck cancer patients through a sport I love is an awesome privilege. The HPV vaccine, which is for boys and girls, had it been around when I was a kid would have likely stopped me from ever getting HPV throat cancer.”
Mendelsohn was likely exposed around age 18 to HPV, which didn’t manifest in cancer until age 44.
Statistics show that three out of four adults by age 30 have HPV, including 62 percent of freshman in college. Men between the ages of 40-60 are the most-highly diagnosed, decades after being exposed to the virus.
“Oral cancer screenings are extremely important,” Mendelsohn says. “I share my story to stop other parents from ever making videos to their kids saying goodbye as I did just 4-1/2 years ago. I feel that it’s my responsibility to protect future generations from a preventable cancer.”
Learn more about Mendelsohn’s story, and cancer awareness and prevention, at www.SupermanHPV.com.
Also in nearby Winter Park on Sunday, Oct. 7, “Smashed Cancer” will be a whiskey, wine and beer event at Flemings Steakhouse from 5:30-7:30 p.m., with funds raised going to support head and neck cancer patients who need assistance with transportation to chemo/radiation, as well as specialized dental care.
The Nov. 3 fundraising tournament at the USTA National Campus will feature NTRP men’s and women’s singles 3.0-4.5 and open division play, along with men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
For more info or to enter the Smash Cancer tournament go to https://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=223014#&&s=1.