New pickleball tournament to benefit St. Jude

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Registration is now open for a new pickleball tournament that will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital called Love Pickle. Stop Cancer.

The tournament will be on June 15 from 2-9 p.m. There will be a 36-team competitive and recreational pickleball tournament and a pro-exhibition match coached by two St. Jude patients.

Families at St. Jude never receive a bill for treatment, lodging, or food.

“We’re just grateful,” Josh, the father of a St. Jude patient, said. “It’s been almost too good to be true. You know, we’re 11 years out, we’ve never have gotten a bill. You know, they pay for our housing and travel and food while we’re there. Just the best doctors and nurses in the world.”

When Bella was 18 months old, there was a lot of uncertainty.

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“Just devastating, you know, the only thing you think of his brain tumor, the two don’t mix,” Josh said. “We didn’t know how the outcome would be.”

Bella is now 13 years old and healthy. She and her family say they owe that to St. Jude.

“It was a breath of fresh air knowing that somebody could help our child, and so it’s really a relief, stepping on campus, knowing that everything’s covered,” Josh said. “No bills are going to end up at your mailbox, and they’re going to allow you to focus on the health of your child.”

The fundraiser will also have live entertainment, dinner and a program highlighting how St. Jude has helped the local community, such as Bella.

“It really doesn’t hit home much until it’s your child, so we’re just grateful,” Josh said. “She gets to live a normal life, do the things that a normal teenager would want to do, and we just didn’t ever know if we see this day, and here we are.”

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