A local group of pickleball enthusiasts are planning a fundraiser to benefit Klamath Falls 5-year-old Faith Kiesling and her family.
Faith Kiesling, the daughter of Ashley and Erik Kiesling, was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma in 2017. She has undergone surgery on her spine and brain, as well as chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She has since stopped responding to treatment and is being assisted by Klamath Hospice.
Klamath Basin residents came together last fall to help the Kieslings with their wedding and honeymoon, and then once again to celebrate Faith’s fifth birthday at an Oregon Tech baseball game earlier this Spring.
Pickleball players and Basin residents Carlie Cunningham and her husband, Greg, are working with the Klamath Basin Pickleball Association members to continue outreach to Faith and her family. The pair, along with local pickleball players, are organizing a three-day tournament on Oct. 25-27 at Henley High School’s tennis courts to raise funds to help offset medical and household needs for the Kiesling family.
The tourney will include a day of pickleball play for women on Friday, Oct. 25, for men and women on Saturday, Oct. 26, and for men on Sunday, Oct. 27.
Pick up a paddle
Everyone from beginners to experts are invited to play in the tournament, but those who do not wish to participate can still donate to the cause and/or come to watch. There will be hamburgers and hot dogs for sale onsite from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as a coffee cart and lemonade stand.
“If families wanted to come out and observe the game also, they could contribute,” she added. “All of the money from the selling of goods would go to her (Faith), also,” Carlie said.
Faith and her family are close with the Cunningham’s cousins, Evan and Michelle Pine, whose daughter Eleanor has also battled pediatric cancer.
The Cunninghams, both avid pickleball players, wanted to fuse their love for the sport with helping those facing childhood cancer in the local community.
“As a parent … it’s your worst nightmare,” Carlie said. “We have two little girls. It was hard enough with our own family with our cousin, Eleanor, going through it.
“So whatever the community can do to make that a little bit easier.”
The hope is that the event becomes a way to help those affected by pediatric cancer in Klamath County.
“Our plan this year is for all of the benefits to go to her (Faith),” Carlie said. “But we’re hoping if this does become a yearly or an annual event that we could share it with other local kids.
“Unfortunately there’s a huge need,” Carlie added.
“You just hear of a new one like almost every month.”
The tournament will be held at Henley High School, 8245 Highway 39, Klamath Falls, at the tennis courts.
Registration for the tournament is open at www.pickleballtournaments.com. Cost is $50 for registration and a T-shirt is included.
Donations can be sent to gofundme.com and search: paddling for childhood cancer Faith. Checks are payable to: PFCC, 8923 Faircliff Lane, Klamath Falls, OR, 97603.
For those with questions about the event or donating to the cause, contact Greg Cunningham at firstname.lastname@example.org.