The Wint Filipek Senior Memorial Tennis Tournament is returning in June after the event was canceled last year due to the pandemic. Wint Filipek and his siblings started the tournament in 2005 after their dad passed away.
"He introduced his five children to tennis," said Wint Filipek, who has helped organize all of the previous events and raised money for scholarships and charity in his dad's name. "I'm more excited this year than I have been in 17 years."
Wint wanted to make sure the tournament returned this year not only to honor his father but to also to raise money for a cause near to his heart.
"It was thinking about donating the proceeds to the Alzheimer's Association this year that prompted us to resurrect the tournament," said Filipek. "[It's] sort of on behalf of my wife Margaret who has had Alzheimer's for the last four years."
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All money raised at this year's event with benefit the Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
"It's been such a hard year for so many caregivers and we just want to make sure they know we are here for them, and we always have been," said Kristen Cusato, Director of Communications for the Connecticut chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
Wint has been by his wife's side through it all.
"She's struggling a little bit cognitively," said Filipek. "Physically she's doing okay. There are so many aspects of it. There's waking up night, there's delusion, there's tears. There's not being able to remember what she said or did two minutes ago."
Filipek is working hard to overcome those challenges and help others. This year's Wint Filipek Senior Memorial Tennis Tournament is part of the Longest Day fundraiser, where people from across the world fight the darkness of Alzheimer's by participating in a fundraising event of their choice.
"The day with the most light is the day we fight," said Cusato. "It really honors caregivers and caregivers have the longest day, every day."
For nearly two decades, in this tennis tournament, love is the only score that matters. "Once we make our donation to the Alzheimer's Association, it will put us close to a quarter million dollars donated to charity and in scholarships in my dad's name," said Filipek.
"Events like the Filipek Tennis Tournament are so incredibly helpful to us because it allows us to help more families who need it in addition to push research forward," said Cusato. "We really need to get to new treatments and a cure."
The tournament, which will be doubles only this year, is scheduled from June 12-17 at Ridge Top Tennis Club in North Haven. More than 100 teams are signed up to participate. More information on how to donate or sign up can be found here.