Supporters Rallied for Health at One and Done Celebrity Tennis Pro-Am
Photos/Text By Renee Burrell
Tennis stars Anna Kournikova (left) and Jim Courier participated in Soosie Lazenby's One and Done Fundraiser Sunday.
BELLEAIR - Despite Sunday's rain, the One and Done Celebrity Tennis Pro-Am fundraiser at the Belleair Country Club, benefiting Morton Plant Hospital's Doyle Women's and Children's Health Initiative, was a great success. The Pro-Am title sponsor was eMASON, a Clearwater-based business software provider. Over seventy thousand dollars was raised with donations still rolling in. The funds will assist Morton Plant Hospital's Doyle Women's and Children's Health Initiative to enhance women's and children's health care.
Soosie Lazenby, owner of URBANcoast in Belleair Bluffs hosted the tournament. "We are fortunate to have one of the Country's top hospitals in our backyard, and I hope the funds raised from this event only continue to impact this worthy initiative." A health patient being treated at Morton Plant and a sports world insider, Lazenby donated two private hospital rooms including a VIP Suite honoring her father, Dr. G. William Lazenby, who has served on staff at Morton Plant Hospital for more than 30 years, and another to honor her physicians Dr. Chrisoula Kiriazis, Dr. John Ofenloch, and Dr. Adam Rosen.
Instead of professional versus amateur tennis matches, supporters Sunday enjoyed a more intimate experience with tennis celebrities Jim Courier, Anna Kournikova, Jimmy Arias, and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mike Alstott and Ryan Nece.
WFLA's "A.M. Tampa Bay" morning show co-host Jack Harris emceed a question and answer session where supporters asked the sports pros questions about their families, favorite charities, and other athletes. Grand slam tickets, tennis memorabilia including signed football jerseys and tennis dresses, sports experiences, and gift baskets were bid on throughout a silent auction. After lunch, table tennis ensued with the team of Kournikova and Goldman the victors.
It's hard to believe the fundraiser was conceived just a few short months ago. Lazenby said last Christmas Jim Courier suggested she organize it. Three months planning was no problem for the event-planning veteran. "I then phoned Anna Kournikova, who is like a daughter to me, who immediately committed. My next call was to a dear client, Jane Goldman, the President and CEO of eMason, who committed to the Title Sponsorship, followed by the commitment of Mike Alstott, Ryan Nece, and Jack Harris. While the event came together quickly, I was amazed how the local community embraced the event. When I named the event, 'One & Done', I did so knowing it would be my one and only ask of my friends and colleagues. I am truly touched by the support I have received by my sports industry clients including professional athletes, teams, and leagues."
Lazenby worked for 25 years within the professional sports industry. She was appointed Sports Commissioner for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by then Governor Mitt Romney. During her tenure, Lazenby revitalized the organization by recruiting a new Board of Directors, developing a signature fundraiser, and implementing new initiatives to benefit 12,000 children throughout 26 schools.
As for the future, Lazenby said, "I plan to always be a strong and involved advocate for the hospital; as for creating and hosting future events, I need to recover from this one first!"
Sports celebrities participated in a question and answer session and later played ping-pong with supporters. (L to R) Mike Alstott, Ryan Nece, Anna Kournikova, Jimmy Arias, Jim Courier.
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