My journey started after Hurricane Hugo, when my dear sister-in-law, Bonnie Hunter, was diagnosed with colon cancer and died five months later at 41.

Two years later, Susan Green, my best friend from high school, died at 39 of leukemia.

Then after another two years, another sister-in-law, Marilynn Hunter, died of breast cancer at 43.

It terrified me — who was next?

These beautiful ladies were my inspiration for many different reasons.

It was many years later when I found my love for tennis and met so many wonderful friends. Along with many of my tennis friends at Pine Forest Country Club in Summerville, we have seen family and friends, both on and off the court, battle this disease.

“Love” is a term we use in scoring our tennis matches, but the “love” we want to send came from our hearts, and we formed our Pine Forest Ladies Tennis Association in 2005. In our first year, we organized a tennis tournament, “Racquets for Recovery,” and raised $13,000.

We are proud to report through our efforts over the past seven years, we have raised $142,000 for local recovering breast cancer patients. Our current funding is given to MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, which helps “local” breast cancer patients with their day-to-day lives and helps ease the burdens placed on them.

The courage and determination shown by our friends is the inspiration to us all, and “Racquets for Recovery” is held as a tribute to them.

Shirley Hunter and the Pine Forest Ladies Tennis Association,