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updated: 4/17/2018 6:33 AM

Pickleball tourney raises funds, hope for recovery

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  • The "Dink for Hope" pickleball tournament organizers Dana Joseph of Palatine and Thea Froehling of Arlington Heights play a match at the Wheeling Community Recreation Center on Sunday.

      The "Dink for Hope" pickleball tournament organizers Dana Joseph of Palatine and Thea Froehling of Arlington Heights play a match at the Wheeling Community Recreation Center on Sunday.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Men's doubles play in the "Dink for Hope" pickleball tournament at the Wheeling Community Recreation Center on Sunday.

      Men's doubles play in the "Dink for Hope" pickleball tournament at the Wheeling Community Recreation Center on Sunday.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Ryan Gold of Shorewood and Al Davenport of New Lenox play a match Sunday during the "Dink for Hope" pickleball tournament at the Wheeling Community Recreation Center.

      Ryan Gold of Shorewood and Al Davenport of New Lenox play a match Sunday during the "Dink for Hope" pickleball tournament at the Wheeling Community Recreation Center.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Memory boards for Devin Berlin and Dennis Raber, who died of drug overdoses, were on display Sunday at the "Dink for Hope" pickleball tournament at the Wheeling Community Recreation Center.

      Memory boards for Devin Berlin and Dennis Raber, who died of drug overdoses, were on display Sunday at the "Dink for Hope" pickleball tournament at the Wheeling Community Recreation Center.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
Daily Herald report

A pickleball tournament that ended Sunday in Wheeling was much more than a competition for elite players in the Northwest suburbs.

For two of those players, Thea Froehling and Dana Joseph, the tournament was a charity fundraiser, memorial, loving tribute and a chance for healing.

Froehling organized the inaugural event in memory of Dennis Raber, the late son of friends. Raber, 29, died from a heroin overdose in February after about a year and a half of sobriety.

Joseph, Froehling's player partner, also helped organize the tournament in honor of her 24-year-old nephew, Devin Berlin, who died from an overdose last November.

Proceeds from the two-day tournament supported A Man in Recovery Foundation, a Naperville group started by Tim Ryan, a former addict who helped Raber start a treatment program.

With the blessing of Raber's parents, Froehling paid tribute to their son, a Lockport native, with memory boards set up at the tournament in the Wheeling Park District Community Recreation Center.

"They thank Tim Ryan for him giving their son back to him, for the year and a half that he was sober," the Arlington Heights woman said ahead of the event. "That struck me."

The organizers called the event, "Dink for Hope," as a nod to the dink shot in pickleball and the title of Ryan's 2017 book, "From Dope to Hope: A Man In Recovery."

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