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Team Connor's Crew - Kelly Franklin, Amanda Comegys, Joy Cruse, Missy Stogner, Shara Lott, Jennalee Trammel, Kimberly Cobb, and MacKenzie Cruse.

The third annual Smashing Childhood Cancer tennis clinic and exhibition game returned to Life Time Plano and raised more than $25,000 for TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation to support research and programs.

“This event has grown significantly in just three years because the tennis community has embraced our mission,” said Joy Cruse, founder of TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation. “We are making an impact by raising awareness and critical funds for more research, which you can never have enough of until we find a cure.” 

Twelve-year-old Jacob Ittigson, the honorary hero was recognized for his valiant fight against childhood cancer. Because Jacob was hospitalized at the time of the event, he was not able to attend, but his father and two best friends made a special appearance. Jacob’s friends Evan and Andrew spoke about Jacob’s battle with cancer and thanked participants for supporting TeamConnor by donating crucial funds needed for childhood cancer research. 

In addition to Life Time Plano, sponsors included Benchmark Bank, Collins Financial and Belvin Cleveland. 

Tennis Pros from area tennis facilities led the drills, including: Steve Nolen with Spring Park, Aaron Newland with Life Time, Andres Osorio with Life Time, James Kneussl with Life Time, Kent Grossling with Life Time, Polina Konop with Life Time, Tim Brownlee with Gleneagles, Vanja Bogetic with Spring Park, David Lowe with The Lakes, Andrew Adams with Stonebriar Country Club, Bill Shaw with The Courts of McKinney, Nurudeen Isa with The Courts of McKinney, John Singer Canyon Creek Country Club, Esteban Flores with Life Time, Pysan Yenchai with Life Time, Taj Harrison with Life Time, Chris Culley with Stonebriar Country Club, Kriszta Kovacs with High Point Tennis Center, Hector Valentin with Village Tennis Center, Tommy Mylnikov with Gleneagles and Scott Bailey.

Participants also enjoyed an Exhibition Game featuring Tennis Pros Neil Kenner, Markus Kerner, Masha Kononova, and Liga Dekmijere.

A very special thank you goes out to the 2020 Smashing Committee Members AJ Chabria - At The Net, Clint Sumrow - HEAD Penn Racquet Sports, Craig Bell - Bent Tree Country Club, Steve Nolen - Spring Park Racquet Club, Henry Gonzales - Gleneagles Country Club, Rob Van Der Schans - Canyon Creek Country Club, Andres Osorio - Lifetime Fitness, Carlos Aguirre - Stonebriar Country Club. 

TeamConnor has donated more than $3 million to research institutions since it was founded in 2008, following the cancer diagnosis of four-year-old Connor Cruse of Frisco who lost his battle in 2009. 

TeamConnor hosts several events throughout the year to raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer research, including the 16th Annual III Forks Golf Classic, May 3 & 4, 2020; and the 10th Annual Northwestern Mutual Clay Shoot, November 2, 2020. For more information on TeamConnor events, contact Sydney Little, special events and outreach coordinator, at slittle@teamconnor.org or (972) 663-7302.   

Every year, more than 12,500 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of children; yet, the budget of the National Cancer Institute allocates less than four percent of its funds to pediatric cancer research. TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness and funding research and treatment programs to find a cure for all childhood cancers.   

For more information on how to join the fight against childhood cancer, please visit teamconnor.org or follow TeamConnor on InstagramTwitterLinkedIn or Facebook.

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