On the courts at Stone/Monroe Park in La Grange Park, neighborhood tennis players match up on Saturdays for a few friendly games each week.
But each year for Labor Day weekend, they pick up their rackets to raise money for a special cause. This Sunday, Sept. 2 from noon to 6 p.m., they'll be playing with extra gusto as they raise funds to help ease the medical bills of a local schoolteacher.
Players will be Kickin' it for Keira this year. Keira is the young daughter of Katie Oplawski-Sedlacek and her husband Mark, both longtime residents of La Grange. Students at Ogden Avenue School know this teacher fondly as Ms. O.
The Oplawski-Selacek family was blessed last year with the arrival of twins. One of the babies, however, was born with Microglossia and Duane's Syndrome. Microglossia is a birth defect that causes an abnormal smallness of the tongue and Duane's Syndrome is a congenital disorder, which limits the movement of the eye.
This year's funds will be donated to the family to help offset their medical bills related to the care of their daughter.
"Ms. O's contagious, friendly, positive spirit has influenced and inspired not only us, but our children as well," participant Tim Gallagher wrote to us in an email. "Needless to say, Keira’s medical care, therapies and expenses have been overwhelming, so it’s time to help."
Following the morning tennis matches, players will be firing up their grills and putting out cold drinks for an afternoon cookout. All are invited to come out, get some food and a drink and make a donation to help the family out.
The group of players has a strong track record. Last year, they were able to raise $3,000 to benefit Marine Lance Cpl. Josh Misiewicz, a local hero who was seriously wounded while serving in Afghanistan in 2011.
It's a great opportunity to show some community pride and help out a family in need.