The Charleston Family YMCA will host a tennis-match fundraiser this month to help a Pinch resident compete in the 2019 U.S. Tennis Association Wheelchair Tennis Championships next month.
Patrick Donaghey is seeking financial support to subsidize his trip to St. Louis to compete in the event taking place from Sept. 11 to Sept. 15.
The St. Louis-based, nonprofit Gateway Confluence Wheelchair Sports Foundation hosts and promotes the annual competition. Since 2010, the tournament has also been home to the International Super Series, held at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center in St. Louis’ Forest Park.
Donaghey, a wheelchair tennis coach and player at the YMCA, has competed on the national level for several years. He said the financial goal to subsidize his St. Louis trip is to raise between $1,000 and $1,300. Along with a $65 entry fee, estimated costs are $385 for round-trip airfare, approximately $130 per night for his hotel stay and other expenses, such as food.
The YMCA’s tennis fundraiser is scheduled for 6 until 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, at the Charleston Family YMCA, 100 YMCA Drive in Charleston. Players can compete on the Y’s Courts 2 through 5. While there, they can also sample wheelchair tennis play on Court 1.
Earlier this month, Donaghey competed in a tournament in Cincinnati.
Along with his competitive accomplishments over the years, Donaghey was named the winner of the USTA’s 2017 Midwest Section Wheelchair Performance Award. The award recognizes a volunteer wheelchair player, tennis professional or coach who has made outstanding contributions and has demonstrated excellence in the sport of wheelchair tennis.
“Patrick travels around the country constantly and competes,” YMCA of Kanawha Valley Communications Director Anthony Lewis said. “One thing about Patrick is, he is a hard worker, not just here in the facility but in his craft. You can walk outside my office at about any time and you can find him working out in the gym or out on the tennis courts practicing. He spends a lot of time preparing for these tournaments to compete at a high level. When it comes to athletics, you think of people that work and want to compete at a high level and Patrick does that. He competes against top athletes and he finishes, usually, in the top 10.
“He’s a hard worker and an asset to the Y. He not only comes in to train, but he teaches classes and works with the kids,” Lewis said.
“One thing that’s interesting to me is, when I’ve talked to him about the incident that led him to being in a wheelchair, I always have to stand back and admire his hard work and consistency when it comes to training. He has had some surgeries over the last two years. Every time you turn around, as soon as he might be gone a while, he’s right back at the facility working.
“From our perspective, you probably have no idea what it’s like to be in that chair and play tennis. I don’t think I could beat him if I was standing on my feet,” Lewis said. “He’s a great tennis player. When he’s playing against people on their feet, it’s amazing to watch him work.”