Seventeen-year-old Andrew Kaelin recently organized the second annual X-Out Cancer Fundraiser Jr. Tournament to raise funds for children with cancer. Through the tournament, the Mercer Island teen raised nearly $1,700.
“[It] was the combination of my passion for tennis and helping kids who really need it,” Kaelin said about the origin of the fundraiser. “I knew this was going to be a great choice due to the openness of the tennis community on Mercer Island.”
The three-day tournament was held in June at the Mercer Island Country Club (MICC). About 90 kids participated in the tournament and donations came from the children and families involved with the junior tennis program at MICC. This year, the participants and funds raised were almost doubled.
MICC junior tennis director Jesse Walter said the kids in the tournament understood why they were there. He said they took time to talk about the Cross Out Cancer organization and the kids looked up to Kaelin.
“It wasn’t about coming out to win a trophy,” Walter said. “It was about helping others that are in need. The kids saw Andrew giving back to the community, and that gets them thinking about how service to others is important.”
Kaelin joined the Cross Out Cancer organization board during his sophomore year in high school and as a board member, was required to run a fundraiser. Having an aunt pass from cancer, Kaelin said it was important for him to donate the funds to Cross Out Cancer because the profits aid cancer families at Seattle Children’s.
Cross Out Cancer is a nonprofit organization started by a high school student whose mission was to combine their love of cross country with the passion of serving pediatric cancer patients and to bring awareness of childhood cancer. The organization is a high school student-run program throughout the country. Kaelin will be serving as the president of the Seattle chapter during his senior year.
“Being elected president for next year’s board makes me incredibly happy,” Kaelin said. “I am extremely determined to work at improving the organization and maximize our potential. One goal is to have more people sign up for our annual run.”
Both Walter and Kaelin said they plan to continue the X-Out Cancer Fundraiser Jr. Tournament for years to come. To learn about Cross Out Cancer, go online to www.xoutcancerseattle.com.