Friday, April 12, 2024

Second annual Raise a Raquet Against Domestic Violence open for registration

During the inaugural Raise a Raquet event last March, Knowles unveiled a memorial bench at Holly Tree Raquet and Swim Club in memory of her mother, who was killed due to domestic violence. (Courtesy/Holly Tree Raquet and Swim Club)

WILMINGTON — A fundraiser launched last year to benefit the local domestic violence shelter is returning for a second run.

Registration is open now for the second annual Raise a Raquet Against Domestic Violence charity tennis tournament to be held in honor of MaryAnn Breault, a victim of a fatal shooting on Dec. 7, 2021. More than 100 players across 19 teams have already signed up for the event, March 3-5 at the Holly Tree Raquet and Swim Club.

READ MORE: Her mother’s abuser let her live to ‘fall apart.’ Now she’s using that pain to help others

Breault’s daughter Rachel Knowles started the fundraiser last year following her death at the hands of her stepfather, Dimitre Dimitrov. He shot and killed Breault at Holly Tree Raquet Club before turning the gun on himself.

Knowles has partnered with the Greater Wilmington Tennis Association and the Holly Tree Raquet and Swim Club to raise awareness about domestic violence. All proceeds benefit Wilmington’s Domestic Violence Shelter and Services, Inc.

Last year more than 200 players participated, and the event raised more than $17,000. Players will once again compete in co-ed teams with eligible league winners advancing to the National Qualifier.

“The Impact Team Tennis format of the event serves as a symbolic nod to the strength of women and men coming together to support a common cause,” GWTA community coordinator Candy Pegram said in a press release.

Tournament attendees are encouraged to wear purple in support of domestic violence awareness, engage in educational resources offered at the event and make additional donations directly to DVSS. Last year the nonprofit support nearly 2,500 people, a majority from New Hanover County with services ranging from shelter assistance to crisis calls and court accompaniment.

“Raise A Racquet started as a way to foster healing while paying tribute to an inspiring woman,” DVSS executive director Lauren Daley Bryant said in the release. “In its second year, we will continue to rally behind victims and raise awareness of the on-going issue of domestic violence happening in our backyard.”

Breault was one of 63 domestic abuse victims killed in North Carolina in 2021 and since her death, Knowles has been dedicated to sharing her story with the hope to inspire change.

“A year ago, the Wilmington community lost a beautiful soul — my mother — to domestic violence,” she said in the release. “As painful as it is to do, I hope sharing her story will encourage the conversation to continue so that no one else has to say goodbye to their mother like I did.”

For more information or to register for Raise a Raquet Against Domestic Violence, visit the website.


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