On World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), Murfreesboro Coordinator Lori found a way to combine her passion for Buddy Up Tennis and her professional career as a Physical Therapist Assistant at STAR Physical Therapy. For this past WDSD, Lori and her team held their first 3-day bake sale of the year to benefit Buddy Up Tennis, and raised nearly $800 for our Murfreesboro Athletes. Lori recognizes the team of support that she enjoys at STAR: “The bake sale would not have been possible without our staff donating baked goods. Even our patients opened their hearts and kitchens to contribute baked goods.” To Lori, World Down Syndrome Day means “Celebration, Triumph, and Success! It is day to celebrate life, happiness, and inclusion!”

Lori alongside her STAR PT Team at their WDSD Bake Sale Benefiting Buddy Up Tennis.

Lori’s path to becoming a Buddy Up Tennis Coordinator is different from many of our other Coordinators, who are usually parents of individuals with Down syndrome. Lori is the proud aunt of Sean (age 6), who has Down syndrome, and she began volunteering with Buddy Up Tennis so that she could “better educate myself and my husband so we could be the best possible aunt and uncle for Sean.”

Lori and her nephew, Sean.

Since joining Buddy Up Tennis as a Buddy in 2014, Lori has become the Murfreesboro Location Coordinator, and here she shares many of her favorite aspects of Buddy Up Tennis:

“It is such a joy and a blessing to be a part of this program,” Lori said. “I especially loved witnessing the bonds and friendships made between our Athletes, Buddies, and Coaches. I love the ‘secret’ handshakes that I have with several of our Athletes. I love the smiles and giggles that I see during water breaks. I love the huge smiles and happy dances when our Athletes finally master a skill! My list could go on and on. Buddy Up Tennis has been a life-changing experience for me! I believe it has done even greater things for me than for our Athletes!”

Lori is truly a model Coordinator in our community, with her love of our Athletes and her passion for our program. But this love extends beyond the courts: She is bringing Buddy Up Fitness, our full body circuit training class, to Murfreesboro, AND she is going to be the personal trainer!

Lori shares two of her favorite quotes: “A simple act of kindness creates an endless ripple,” and “Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.” She adds, “Buddy Up Tennis provides me with the opportunity to live out these quotes! I will forever be grateful for that.”

Lori, we could not agree more, and we ourselves are so grateful to have Coordinators like you, who enthusiastically bring our program to the courts and the gym each and every week!