All the medical advances that helped save Chris Evert’s life failed to save her sister. ovarian cancer In February 2020, the 62-year-old was discovered after reaching the worst stages of her illness.
The first time Chris Evert sensed something was wrong was when she and her sister rushed through the airport terminal for a flight to Singapore for the Women’s Tennis Championships. Chris Evert saw ex-pro player Ebert Dubin out of breath and unable to keep up. Not long after, Jeanne was diagnosed. Two years later, she was gone.
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“Why her?” Chris Evert said recently in the office of the tennis academy that bears her surname.
That grief gave Chris Evert a grave warning. She is determined to spread this warning to the world so that other lives like hers can be saved.
A few months after her sister’s death, doctors called Chris Evert to tell her that a blood sample taken from her sister before her death had recently revealed a harmful variant in the BRCA1 gene. breast and ovarian cancerWithin days, 67-year-old Chris Evert was tested and found she had the same genetic condition.
In December, she had a prophylactic hysterectomy and a lab test found cancer cells in her tissue. She had to return for surgery as soon as she was cured so the surgeon could see if there was more cancer and if so, how far it had progressed.
Nothing else was found. Ebert was determined to be in Stage 1, but was told by doctors that had he not known the need for genetic testing, he would have been in Stage 4, just like his older sister, within four months. .
Six months after surgery, Chris Evert underwent surgery. chemical treatmentas she described it, made her feel nauseous and “gritty”, keeping her off her beloved tennis courts, but only for five days at a time. and provided expertise to the children for three weeks before returning for their next treatment on the court, and the cycle was restarted.
“She handled it with the same focus that made her an 18-time Grand Slam champion and icon,” said her brother John Ebert, who runs the Evert Tennis Academy. I shared it with people to help others by telling stories. She’s still a champion.”
Evert returns to the six-time U.S. Open to handle ESPN’s coverage. It will be her second tournament after Wimbledon, but since announcing she was cancer-free in May, she has a 90% to 95% chance that the cancer won’t come back. We will be hosting the USTA Foundation Gala on the first night, Monday.
It was one of the organization’s most important fundraising events, and Chris Evert proved on the court that she is a champion all around as she continues her treatment.
Since volunteering to chair the USTA Foundation, the USTA’s philanthropic arm that runs tennis and learning centers for 160,000 uneducated children each year, Chris Evert is the most successful organization the organization has ever seen. I have grown to be one of the most effective leaders. During her tenure that began in 2019, she oversaw the expansion of the National Junior Tennis and Learning program and helped the foundation receive $30 million in grants and donations. .
After all, her 18 Grand Slam singles championships rank third with Martina Navratilova in the Open Era, and her 90% winning percentage is the best of the era. Her athletic pedigree and focus on competition, combined with her pure and charming nature, make Ebert a near-perfect candidate for leadership roles.
“Since her involvement, she has taken the foundation to a new level,” said Dan Faber, chief executive of the USTA Foundation. It really elevates our mission.”
In 2020, when many charities struggled to raise funds in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Faber had the edge at the sports legend. did. He hoped to donate $250,000. Chris Evert answered the phone, and the man was so happy he brought his wife into the conversation, and by the time it was over, their check was $1 million.
Not because she delighted them with stories of playing Navratilova or Steffi Graf, but because of her passion for the cause, and 2022 could be the best year ever for the organization’s fundraising. Ebert downplays his contributions with the same natural humility he showed as a player who rose from public tennis courts to stardom.
“What’s so hard about joining Zoom?” she said. “Look, I had time. My kids are grown up. Sure, it feels good to give back, but it really feels good to be involved with kids who don’t have the resources or opportunities. When you go and see these programs in action, you realize how important they are.”
Evert knows this firsthand. When she and her four siblings were growing up, her father, Jimmy, who had been her tennis instructor for 49 years at the public court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, told the children that after school I strongly encourage you to play tennis. Long after Chris Evert turned it into a successful career, she asked her father why he let them all play: “‘To keep her kids off the street,'” he said. said to her.
“What, did he think I was going to join a gang or something?” she said with a laugh. “But as I’ve gotten older, he’s gotten smarter in my eyes. Time spent doing nothing isn’t good for kids, especially at this age. We have to keep them busy in positive ways.” .”
Jimmy Ebert and his wife Colette were communion ministers and instilled in children a spirit of charity alongside tennis. worked with the Salvation Army to encourage children to try on clothes once a month and make a donation.
Chris Evert’s involvement with the USTA Foundation then grew out of her work on a scholarship program that he, along with John Evert, started at the USTA to honor his late father in 2015. Chris Evert has already has been traveling and was appearing on the Jimmy Evert Fund., why not expand her portfolio to include the entire foundation? It was a confluence.
“I loved it more than I expected,” she said. “I love being with my kids and seeing the smiles and hope in their eyes, but also seeing them learning. I really feel it.”
May Chris Evert keep her going recovery from cancer And in therapy — she says she’s still not feeling 85% — she’s pushing her work forward and helping guide Evert Academy while establishing new heights for the USTA Foundation.
Although the job has an unofficial three-year term limit, Chris Evert is the first woman to win 1,000 singles matches, the first to be ranked #1 in computer rankings, and one of Sports Illustrated’s top athletes. She was the first woman to be named sole winner, and the year 1976 is no stranger to setting new standards.
“I’m going to demand to stay,” she said. helping us, that’s all, right?
Once she’s fully recovered, Chris Evert said she intended to raise more awareness and funding for cancer research.
Evert Dubin was always caring for others, but he mostly ignored the early symptoms, considering them a normal part of aging. When I felt it, I asked why I hadn’t gone to the doctor sooner. Looking into his sister’s eyes, Chris Evert immediately regretted asking the hard question and Ebert Dubin asked him never to ask it again.
Chris Evert paused after speaking. But now she sees it as her duty to raise the same issue of early detection with the whole world.
“Because of my sister’s illness and her death, I am alive,” she said. actively.”
This article was originally published in The New York Times.
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