IN APRIL the Redditch and Alcester Standard teamed up with the Aegon Classic – the prestigious all-female tennis tournament held in Birmingham – in a search for local inspirational women.
There were many entries, but one woman really stood out as someone that her friends and family to look up to. Karen Foort, nominated by her son, Charlie, and friend, Sue Bowen, is a local business woman who set up two successful companies from scratch, Mobile pet Supplies and Fun Time Party Hire. She holds many charity days is and is a real pillar of the community.
In August 2012 she was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer and, by March 2013 it had spread throughout her body and she was given just six months to live. Not happy with this prognosis, Karen has fought the cancer and is still fighting. She sold one of her business and held events to raise money to fund a specialist treatment only available in Germany.
Despite a rough time on chemotherapy and surgery, Karen has stayed positive throughout and even set up The Foort Foundation Charity which helps to fund her treatment and also offers support, advice and funding to others in her position.
As winner of the competition, Karen has claimed an all-expenses paid, VIP trip to the Aegon Classic tennis final on Sunday (June 15) for herself and a friend.
Not only will Karen see an exciting game of tennis, but she’ll also get to watch an exhibition doubles match between 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova, Anne Keothavong, Tim Henman and Jamie Murray. The exhibition match will be part of Rally for Bally, the series of activity which aims to raise money for the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis and the Royal Marsden Hospital in memory of former British number one Elena Baltacha who died of liver cancer last month.
On hearing the news that she has been named the Aegon Classic’s local heroine, Karen said: “I had no idea I had been nominated so it was quite a shock when I was told I had won. Since my diagnosis in 2012, it’s been a tough time for my family and me but we continue to look ahead to when I am cancer free.
“I am a huge tennis fan and the sport has been a great outlet for me whilst in treatment. It has enabled me to keep as fit and healthy as I can, which will help to beat the disease.
“I’m really looking forward to my VIP trip to finals day as I’m sure it will be a very exciting match.”
On the day before the final, Karen is holding a fundraising event called “Pamperglamp” to raise money for my the Foort Foundation and Macmillan, which will include live music, high tea, Zumba, cocktails, and a bouncy castle and face painting for the kids. As well as supporting hundreds of cancer patients through Macmillan, the money raised at the event will fund the treatment for a single mum who is due to go to the Germany clinic later this month.
The Aegon Classic is held at Birmingham’s Edgbaston Priory Club from Saturday (June 9) to Sunday (June 15) Recently upgraded to a WTA Premier Level event, the tournament is now one of the top 21 tennis events in the world – offering sporting fans in the Midlands the chance to see some top-rate tennis on their home turf.
Tickets start from as little as £15 per person and are available at www.aegonclassic.co.uk/tickets.
For more information, visit www.aegonclassic.co.uk, @BritishTennis, or call 0844 209 7359* (Calls cost 6p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge).