Local transplant recipient joins tennis greats for a charitable cause

Kalaheo’s Sandy Webster joined tennis greats Jim Currier, Jana Novotna and Anna Kournikova in Michigan for the Ace of Hearts Tennis Tour.

A portion of the net proceeds benefited the Miracle Match Foundation, an organization dedicated to encourage bone marrow and organ donations.

The match Webster played in with Courier took place last week. Webster, who works as a consultant for the Booz Allen Consulting Firm at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, returned Monday night.

“It was so fantastic,” she said. “It was such a thrill to even be there and to know that the purpose, the cause was getting attention.”

The purpose and the cause are close to her heart because, Webster, herself, is a recipient of two kidney transplants. The first came from her father 30 years ago. She required a second transplant 18 years later. This time her husband Chris was the donor.

Playing in last week’s Ace of Hearts Tour at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., was also special to her because it marked the 12th anniversary of her receiving her second kidney transplant from Chris.

The Miracle Match Foundation was founded by former tennis pro Bill Przybysz, who was diagnosed with Acute Monocytic Leukemia in July 1995. Soon after, Przybysz was fortunate enough to find a bone marrow transplant match to help him with his first steps on a difficult road to recovery. Webster is good friends with Przybysz.

“I’ve known Bill since 1997 and was with him for the first event which was held in 1998,” Webster.

Then, and for the following years, she was spectator and supporter. Last week was the first time she got to play in it.

“It went by so fast that I have to look at pictures to remember it,” Webster said.

But for Webster, the best part of last week was that she had the chance to give back to the cause.

“I was able to present Bill with a check for $250, and just knowing and believing that that money will go to giving someone a second chance at life was the best part,” Webster said. “It’s the gift of life that this was all about.”

The goal from last week’s matches was to raise over $15,000 for Miracle Match — the cost of testing roughly 125 people as possible bone marrow donors.

She was chosen by Przybysz to participate in the event due to her long time involvement with the Miracle Match Foundation and her participation in the World Transplant Games.

She played in a mixed doubles match with John McEnroe, Courier and Novatna.

Kournikova completed the star-studded line up for the event. In addition to playing tennis with some of the games, Webster joined the celebrities in hosting a tennis clinic for 10 lucky fans.

Webster wants to raise awareness of organ donation here on Kaua‘i.

“It’s a personal quest of mine,” she said. “I think my continued support will be ongoing. It’s a great cause. I will continue to promote organ donation and raise awarenes here, locally in the community and even worldwide.”

Webster had always been a fan of tennis.

She’d been playing since her middle school years and still playing in matches.

She’s played in numerous tennis tournaments including the World Transplant Games.

For more information on this or other charity sports events, or to donate to a cause, visit www.insideoutlive.com.

• Lanaly Cabalo, sports editor, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or lcabalo@kauaipubco.com.

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