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Commentary: Why you should go to the RITA Foundation Tennis and Golf Tournament

"I never thought that cancer would become a part of my life, especially at the age of 23."
Credit: AP
A photo shows the tattoos on the arm of Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova as she returns the ball to Britain's Johanna Konta during their women's third round singles tennis match at the Olympic Tennis Centre of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 9, 2016. / AFP / Roberto SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla —

Avery Latta-Raines is an editor with First Coast News.

I never thought that cancer would become a part of my life, especially at the age of 23.

Luckily, my diagnosis was caught early enough that if, for some reason, I need surgery, it can easily be taken care of. 

My diagnosis is probably something you've never heard of before. VHL, otherwise known as Von Hippel-Lindau Disease, is a rare genetic mutation that has caused cysts and tumors to form throughout my body.

Even before my diagnosis, helping those stricken with cancer has always been close to my heart. So what's better than combining the game of tennis (something I used to play all the time) and finding a cure for all forms of cancer into a tennis tournament for cancer?

RITA, an abbreviation meaning research is the answer, is a tennis tournament that happens every year and has raised over $4.7 million in cancer research!

I highly encourage that, if you have some free time, to come out and show your support. You don’t even have to donate if you can’t. Just being a part of the crowd and showing your support is all that the organizers care about!  The dates for this event are March 6 to March 8 and it will be at Magnolia Point Golf and Country Club.

Registration to play in this event opened on Jan. 2 and will end on Feb. 24. You can register here

The tournament organizers are also looking for sponsors, silent auction donations, volunteers, and of course, tennis and golf players! And yes, you can also register to play in the golf tournament if you don't want to play tennis!

I hope to see you there and remember to always GET CHECKED!   

You can find a link to the tournament website here.