Inspiring People: Estero man supports SWFL cancer patients through tennis

Cali Trepkowski’s mother said watching her 11-year-old take to the tennis court is a miracle, and one made possible by the man she’s learning the sport from, Duane Chaney.

For more than a decade now, Chaney raises money to support the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida through tennis, because he knows what it feels like to have a child close to you diagnosed with cancer, “My goal was to bring the tennis community together to help others.”

He created ‘Madisen’s Match‘ after his three-year-old niece, Madisen Abramson, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008.

“When you hear brain tumor your worst fears come to light,” Chaney said. “So that moment changed my life, where I had to direct all that energy to do something.”

Since then, Chaney’s competitions attract tennis’s top talent to Fort Myers each spring — and they’ve raised more than $950,000.

That money that goes to treating pediatric patients like Cali.

Cali said when she was 8 years old, she was getting treatment for medulloblastoma brain cancer at Golisano. That’s when she met Chaney.

Now, as the two take the court together, their lives are brought closer by cancer.

Chaney says he’s inspired by cancer patients like his new tennis partner, Cali, and his niece, Madisen. “To know that you can really impact kids and adults with cancer and help is what it’s really all about.”

He hopes Madisen’s Match will continue to help more children ace their treatment through tennis.

“I dedicate my time and efforts to as much as I can,” Chaney said. “A lot of amazing legends are a part of this event and they look forward to coming back.”

Taking the court against cancer.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
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