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Pickleball For The Cure: An Interview With Amy Flynn Of Komen.Org

Pickleball For The Cure: An Interview With Amy Flynn Of Komen.Org

  • For decades, the Susan G. Komen organization has been a leader in the fight against breast cancer. But their approach goes beyond research and fundraising. We interviewed Amy Flynn, Senior Manager of Pickleball Funding to learn more about Komen's history of fusing fitness with fundraising, examining their signature events and their commitment to healthy lifestyles including their latest challenge, Pickleball For The Cure.

Please Share a brief history of Komen and their efforts to fuse fitness with fundraising

Komen has always been at the forefront of fitness and fundraising, through our long-standing Race for the Cure, Walk for the Cure, and 3-Day events nationwide. We love creating and supporting programs that encourage healthy living and wellness, and some of the most popular programs on our DIY Fundraising platform, which supports individuals and groups in any type of activity, are run by CrossFit gyms, Peloton groups, Yoga/Pilates studios, and health clubs. With pickleball’s rise in popularity in recent years, it was a natural fit to launch a fundraising platform exclusive to pickleball, as we found the pickleball community to be incredibly passionate, social, active, committed, and generous – key attributes of the most successful fundraisers!

How long have you been with Komen and what guiding principles led you to the company? 

I’ve been with Komen for about 6 months now, and have loved every minute of it. My background is in sports marketing and corporate sponsorship, and I was drawn to the opportunity to use a sports platform to raise funds and awareness for such a meaningful cause and activate athletes of all levels to play for a purpose. For such a large organization, I’m amazed at how much the entire Komen team feels like a family, and how our executive team makes every employee feel heard and respected. The Komen mission and vision of a world without breast cancer guides everything we do, and it’s a privilege to carry out that mission through such a fun and spirited channel of sports and recreation.  

Please share a bit about the Pickleball Challenge.  What makes it unique and accessible for individuals to participate?

The Komen Pickleball Challenge is the easiest and most accessible way for individuals to get involved and play for a purpose. The goal is to see how many games of pickleball you can play in 30 days, while raising awareness and funds for the fight against breast cancer. Players can join the challenge at any time by registering on the Pickleball for the Cure site, where within minutes our system will set them up with their own personal page/URL that they can share with family and friends to support their efforts with a donation, or (even better!) join them in the challenge! Teams can be formed to challenge each other for some healthy competition, or players can just take it on as an individual. Our platform can automatically share the page on social media accounts, and we provide a ton of fun graphics and resources to track and share  progress and milestones along the way. 

What milestone have you achieved with The Pickleball Challenge and Pickleball For The Cure- and what milestones are ahead?

We just re-launched a new website and upgraded our Pickleball for the Cure platform last month, so that’s a big milestone our team has been working towards for a while. The program as a whole launched with a major kickoff event in October 2022, the Pickleball for the Cure National Tournament, in Newport Beach, CA. That event sold out and provided the momentum for the program to raise over $500,000 in less than 18 months. Beyond the Pickleball Challenge, the majority of that has been raised by passionate pickleballers and local clubs in the community organizing their own fundraising tournaments and events, which has really been the cornerstone of the program’s success.

Looking ahead, what I’m most excited about is announcing our upcoming collaboration on the Pickleball Challenge with our new partners – IntoPickleball and Acacia Sports! Both organizations have been huge supporters of Komen in the past and wanted to find a way to get more involved. With the recent launch of our new site, the timing was perfect to partner on the Pickleball Challenge, and now, thanks to IntoPickleball and Acacia Sports, we have some amazing prizes and incentives to award the first 40 players who participate! Players can win a Komen-branded pink Takeya paddle, a pair of Pink Dinkshot shoes from Acacia Sports, a free one-year membership as an IntoPickleball Insider, or an official Pickleball for the Cure pink visor.   

What do you think it is about Pickleball that it has become such a great philanthropic vehicle? 

The sport of pickleball is so unique in that it brings together players and people of all walks of life, and those people build a strong bond and sense of community together. Because it’s such a social activity, and the players are so passionate to play at any chance they can get, it makes them more likely to rally their community together to play for a meaningful cause. With breast cancer affecting the lives of so many, it’s inspiring to see the action and support that the pickleball community takes on when it’s one of their own. Whether it’s a group challenge, memorial tournament, open play in support of a teammate’s recent diagnosis, or ladies’ night to celebrate the end of a treatment cycle, we’ve seen SO many fun and creative ways that picklers are coming together to support their communities and raise funds that are truly making a difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer.

Do you play pickleball yourself? What do you like most about it? 

Yes! I try to play any chance I can get, as I’ve definitely caught the pickleball bug. I love that it’s great exercise without being too taxing on the body, and that it’s such an even playing field regardless of age, athletic ability, gender, etc. We’ve all been smoked by that short, slow-moving older guy or the sweet grandma in the knee brace… You definitely learn to not underestimate your competition! But what I really love most is the community, knowing that I can jump into the rotation wherever I can find somewhere to play and be embraced by a group of individuals that I likely wouldn’t cross paths with in any other situation in my life. 

Who’s ready to hit the pickleball courts for a good cause? 

This summer, we’re partnering with Susan G. Komen and Acacia Sports for a pickleball challenge like no other: Komen’s Pickleball for the Cure Challenge! Test your skills and see how many games you can play in 30 days while raising awareness and funds to help end breast cancer.   

The first 30 people to register and raise a minimum of $30 will qualify to earn one of three amazing prizes: a pink Komen Takeya pickleball paddle, $100 Acacia Sports gift card or a one-year subscription to IntoPickleball Insider. Register today and paddle up to take breast cancer down:

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