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Game, Set, Match: MD Anderson Aces the US Open

By Victor Scott

Young MD Anderson supporters sporting lime green T-shirts enjoy a sunny Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day and a full schedule of activities kicking off the 2010 US Open tennis tournament in Flushing, N.Y. Photo by Victor Scott.

Making Cancer History® took center court at the 2010 US Open as MD Anderson sponsored Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, the official kickoff event of the two-week championship tennis tournament.

During a day of record attendance at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., children of all ages had a chance to participate in activities promoting the game and mingle with professional players.

Throughout the morning on Court 12, hundreds of children competed against USTA players during MD Anderson’s Beat the Pro event. Sixteen-year-olds Wade Dillenbeck of Schulenburg, Texas, and Austin Sheppard of Katy, Texas, both patients at MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital, showed off their tennis skills on the court against USTA player Shelby Rogers.

“It was awesome,” said Rogers, courtside after the event. “They had a great attitude. They were moving me all around the court. I had to bring my ‘A’ game today.”

As the morning’s activities wrapped up, it was time to head to the main Arthur Ashe Stadium for a concert featuring world-famous musical talent including the Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato and David Archuleta.

After the final song faded, some of the world’s top tennis players hit center court for the MD Anderson Performance Challenge.

Dillenbeck and Sheppard had on-court seats as tennis pros Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Kim Clijsters and wheelchair champion Esther Vergeer took turns at targets on the court, branded with the MD Anderson logo, to raise money for various charities. They also raised $15,000 for MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital.

MD Anderson’s new logo was visible throughout the US Open facility the entire day. It was easy to spot either on the lime green T-shirts worn by MD Anderson supporters or on the signs displayed throughout the complex.

A 90-minute television program created from the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day activities aired on CBS Sports the following day.

“Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day was a smashing success this year,” said Harlan Stone, chief marketing officer of the USTA. “We thank MD Anderson for the work they do to eliminate cancer.”

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center