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Let’s Dink for Pink: Fundraising to end breast cancer through Pickleball for the Cure

Betty Vandeputte was sick in bed with COVID in August 2022, scrolling her Facebook feed when a post from Susan G. Komen made her pause. “It was a post about Pickleball for the Cure, and I thought it looked interesting. I called my friend and said, ‘I’m sick, but this is a great idea, and we should do it.’” The friend at the other end of the line was Suzy McKinney, a fellow pickleball player from Sunset, South Carolina, and she agreed that it would be a great event. With less than two months to coordinate and announce the event, they immediately got to work.

Pickleball for the Cure is one of Komen’s signature fundraising programs that offers pickleball players of all levels the opportunity to play the game they love while raising funds to fight breast cancer. Players can join a Pickleball Challenge, play in a hosted event or host an event of their own, like Suzy and Betty. Suzy secured the venue, The Reserve at Lake Keowee, which offered use of six pickleball courts for the day. They used Komen’s Pickleball for the Cure tools to create flyers and graphics, which they posted throughout the community, shared with interleague pickleball clubs, and promoted on Facebook.

“We had anywhere from 60 to 80 ladies register for the event, and in order to play, you had to bring your receipt showing you had donated to the cause,” Suzy said. “As an incentive to give more, we offered a raffle ticket for donations above $50.” Raffle items included gift baskets, gift certificates, and pickleball lessons. When the day was done, Let’s Dink for Pink raised more than $6,000. “It wasn’t long before friends and fellow players started asking us if we were going to do it again in 2023,” Suzy said.

With their first successful fundraiser under their belt, Betty and Suzy got to work on the 2023 event, which was held at The Reserve’s pickleball courts on Friday, Oct. 27. “We had some added features this year that really made the event special,” Betty said. “The Reserve provided coffee, pastries, and snacks, so whenever there was a break, participants could socialize and enjoy the refreshments. We also gave a prize for the Best Dressed in Pink and this year, we gave participants a raffle ticket for donations in $50 increments.”

Suzy secured a $750 donation from her employer to help support the event, which allowed them to purchase additional items for the raffle. “The majority of the funds went to pickleball-specific items from vendors like Etsy, and the remaining funds were donated directly to our fundraiser,” she said. Additionally, area pickleball pros provided on-court coaching and would jump in to play if a group needed a player. “The ladies loved having that extra opportunity to work on their skills,” Suzy said. “The pros would hop on an open court and do a drill or play singles – really giving our players one-on-one time.”

Having more time to prepare and plan paid off. Let’s Dink for Pink’s 2023 event brought in just over $10,000, and Betty and Suzy are already looking forward to next year’s event. “We all know someone who has been impacted by breast cancer,” Betty said. “By fundraising through Pickleball for the Cure, we are doing our part to help support Komen’s work to end breast cancer, and it’s a great feeling.”

Pickleball for the Cure is the nation’s first official fundraiser that offers players of all levels the opportunity to play the sport they love while raising funds to end breast cancer. To learn more, visit

Statements and opinions expressed are that of the individual and do not express the views or opinions of Susan G. Komen. This information is being provided for educational purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice. Persons with breast cancer should consult their healthcare provider with specific questions or concerns about their treatment.