Senior Paul Freeman has many passions. He’s a tennis player and an avid music fan, but he may be most passionate helping out a cause that is meaningful to him. Freeman’s younger brother has cystic fibrosis, and he is very involved in helping find a cure. He has been organizing a tennis tournament, Serving Up a Cure, on Saturday, Sept. 6 to raise money and awareness for cystic fibrosis. We talked to Freeman to learn more about his involvement with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and his upcoming tennis event.
How long have you supported the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation?
Most of my life I’ve been volunteering on behalf of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF), just following my mom from event to event, setting up tables and doing whatever I could do as a little kid. But when I was twelve, I was offered the chance to be a part of the first ever Sibling Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. There, we met with many Senators and Representatives to inform them about cystic fibrosis and to tell our stories. We also asked them to be aware of the legislation being introduced that would positively impact thousands of people like my brother. Later that year, my 6th grade class and I watched as Congress voted the bill (the Improving Access to Clinical Trials Act or I-Act for short) into law. That was the first time I think I really supported the foundation and I’ve been going back to Washington DC almost every year. This past June, I went to Washington DC for the 6th time on behalf of the CFF.
What does the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation work to achieve?
To make CF stand not for Cystic Fibrosis, but Cured Forever.
What inspired you to create this tournament (Serving Up a Cure) to raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis?
Well, the two things Henry loves most are music and tennis. His idol right now is Dave Grohl, so he’s constantly banging on the drums, playing along with Nirvana and Foo Fighters’ songs.
His other love is tennis. Every single day during the summer he would get up in the morning, ride his bike to the tennis courts and spend the entire day there. He and the pro there at the time, Zach Frisch, who is also the Rockhurst tennis coach, became great buddies, and they’ll actually be playing together at the event.
Why are you so passionate about helping this cause?
I’m sure this is going to sound a little corny, and I’m not sure how exactly to put this to words, but every spring break, our family goes to Hilton Head Island, SC. It’s a tradition we’ve been doing as long as I can remember and hopefully its something we continue to do. Anyway, I have always had this vision in my head of us, and our families, just hanging out on the beach, having fun. I don’t want to lose him before he can grow up, have a family, and be able to do everything he wants to do.
Can you briefly explain the format for the tournament?
The format is three divisions (Advanced, Intermediate, and Beginner) of mixed/single sex doubles. Each match will be one 6-game set.
How do Rockhurst students and faculty sign up to participate in this tournament?
If you go to our facebook page (www.facebook.com/ServingUpACureKC) there are links there. Or (http://goo.gl/zvld1d) will take you straight to the sign up page. We also included a qr code on the flyer if you don’t feel like entering a link.
Are there ongoing opportunities for Rockhurst students to volunteer with the CFF?
We will need a lot of volunteers at the upcoming event to ensure everything runs smoothly. If you would like to volunteer please contact myself, Daniel Henry or Joe O’Connor. If you are interested in volunteering with the CFF email firstname.lastname@example.org