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Swing for Pink to Raise Funds for Breast Cancer Patients

Alexandria, VA – Swing for Pink, the annual fundraiser benefitting Inova breast cancer patients and research, has a long tradition of raising much-needed funds. For the past 15 years or so, the tennis players, staff and management of the former Mount Vernon Athletic Club (MTVAC) hosted the Swing for Pink fundraiser, combining tennis, food and beverages, and a silent auction of donated items.

Clockwise from upper left: Ellen McMichael, Susan O’Neil, Chris Vonier, Bonnie Christ and Sharon Timmons man the registration table at Swing for Pink in 2019. (Courtesy of Swing for Pink)

Including sponsorships, monies raised over the years have topped $208,000. Swing for Pink is an incredibly effective steward of its resources, thanks to its dedicated, hard-working volunteers. All but 1% of funds raised go directly to the beneficiaries: patients of the Breast Care Institute at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, and the Joseph Viar and Bonnie Christ Cancer Center at Inova Alexandria Hospital.

Inova Cancer Center and MTVAC representatives proudly display the generous check from last year’s Swing for Pink fundraiser. (Courtesy of Swing for Pink)

Unfortunately, after MTVAC closed due to the pandemic in March, it was then sold in June, leaving its members scrambling to find other courts to fill their tennis needs. Although the club’s doors were clsoed, the event organizers wanted to carry on the popular and successful charitable tradition. So they came up with a new plan and a new venue.

Sharon Timmons, left, and Deb Oelschlager have worked tirelessly to raise much-needed funds for breast cancer patients and the Inova Breast Cancer Centers. (Courtesy of Swing for Pink)

Co-chairs Deb Oelschlager and Sharon Timmons wanted to not only continue the fundraiser, but also to reunite all the tennis friends who were missing the club and each other. Said Oelschlager, “We decided to reinvent the fundraiser as a safe and fun outdoor tennis event, providing a great opportunity for the former MTVAC members and friends to reunite and come together for a great cause, and of course play some tennis.”

Megan Cooke and Cori Ashton of Inova Cancer Center with Swing for Pink chair Deb Oelschlager, all holding gift cards for breast cancer patients. (Courtesy of Swing for Pink)

The committee reserved four tennis courts at Lee District Recreation Center in Alexandria, VA, for a round robin with plenty of social distancing space for players as well as anyone who just wanted to reunite with friends. The event will take place Saturday, October 3, from 2 to 5 pm, with a rain date of Sunday, October 4, 2 to 5 pm. Register to play tennis and/or donate here.

Because this year’s event did not include a silent auction, Oelschlager and Timmons set a goal of $20,000 (they had raised nearly $33,000 in 2019). In addition to the round robin, there will be a 50/50 raffle, and players and visitors can buy the delicious offerings from the Meggrolls food truck. Invitations were sent to all of the MTVAC alumnae, in the hopes of gathering old friends and players for the socially distanced reunion and round robin.

In further support of this fundraiser, Kendra Scott Jewelry will host an online shopping event to benefit Swing for Pink on Thursday and Friday, October 8 and 9. The online event begins at 12:01 am October 8 and concludes at 11:59 pm October 9. Click here to access the site; and use the code GIVEBACK9467 at checkout so Swing for Pink earns 20% of purchases.

Swing for Pink is indebted to its generous sponsors:

Van Metre Family, in loving memory of Joan Harmon Van Metre

Van Metre Companies Foundation

Sue and Rick Rabil

Joe Viar and Bonnie Christ

Pawn USA 

Bodnar Chiropractic 


Kendra Scott Jewelry

Pacious Landscape Architecture

Mt. Vernon Gazette

Alexandria Gazette Packet


In addition to registration fees and sponsors, Swing for Pink counts on donations to meet its goal. The donation window is open until October 17, so if you’d like to donate to this great cause, please visit the website.

Inova Schar Cancer Institute, Inova Health Systems Foundation, is a charitable foundation that serves The Breast Care Institute at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital and the Joseph Viar and Bonnie Christ Cancer Center at Inova Alexandria Hospital – 501(c)3 Tax Exempt Charities.

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