Help, Understanding & Group Support, Hawaii, or HUGS, as it is better known, is dedicated to assisting Hawaii’s families with seriously ill children.
With the surge in popularity of pickleball, hosting a pickleball tournament presents an excellent opportunity to raise funds for their mission while also providing an enjoyable experience for a large number of people.
This has led to the inception of the inaugural “Paddle For HUGS” Tournament.
Scheduled for Saturday, November 4, the event aims to benefit the organization’s programs and services dedicated to families dealing with seriously ill children.
Alex Wereszczynskyj, HUGS Development Director, outlined the concept behind the organization: “So HUGS supports families in Hawaii with a child has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness or disease.
“A lot of our kids, unfortunately, don’t make it, so we have a celebration of life event. We have a memorial garden up at Sunset Ranch on the north shore where a tree is planted in the memory.”
While some cases end positively, HUGS endeavors to alleviate hardships in all situations.
According to Alex, “A lot of organizations hold golf tournaments. Since pickleball is gaining popularity, we thought this would be different and enjoyable for many. We’re raising funds to support our HUGS families, and we want people to have fun in the process.”
Reflecting on the impact of HUGS, Wereszczynskyj stated, “A lot of our kids do really well; they get in remission. They remember going to a HUGS respite, going to the HUGS house, playing in the sandbox. A negative situation, but for them, they found some positivity in that with HUGS.”
The First 100 Players
The Pickleball Tournament is limited to the first 100 players. By using the promo code KITV, participants can avail a $10 discount on their registration. The registration period concludes on October 31. Interested individuals can register at tinyurl.com/paddlehugs.
The tournament will feature an unsanctioned, mixed doubles, round-robin format, welcoming participants from beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels aged 16 and above.
Medals will be awarded to the top three players in each bracket.
Game sessions commence at 8:30 a.m. for beginners, 11:30 a.m. for intermediates, and 2:30 p.m. for advanced (subject to change based on registration count).
Renowned Hawaii Pickleball Pro and contestant on the reality series “Pickleball Paddle Battle,” Keven Wong, will present a special pickleball exhibition.
“We are so excited to have Keven on board and be a part of our committee,” said Wereszczynskyj. “Watching him play is so amazing, and he’s just so well known in the pickleball community. So it will be a lot of fun to see what kind of tricks he will do for the exhibition.”
Visit the “Paddle for HUGS” website for further event particulars.
All proceeds generated from the tournament will directly benefit Hawaii’s seriously ill children and their families affiliated with the HUGS organization. HUGS extends its support to over 350 families across the state, offering peer support programs for each family member, as well as financial aid, including monthly food provisions and airfare assistance.
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