By Charlie Ligon
Six years ago, Jack Ligon, with the help of his younger brother, Charlie Ligon, began his efforts to raise money for Alzheimer’s patients through a tennis tournament in Oxford. Jack, however, did not have a specific charity in mind, and was looking for a recipient for these funds.
Dr. Jo Ann O’Quin, the founder of Memory Makers, reached out to Jack and requested that the earnings from the tournament be gifted to Memory Makers, focusing the tournament on serving Oxford’s local fight against Alzheimer’s disease. This led to the foundation of the Memory Makers Tennis Tournament, which has raised over $90,000 for the organization so far and is seeking to surpass $100,000 this summer.
The Memory Makers Tennis Tournament is different from many charity events in the fact that it seeks to help a service organization that cares for Alzheimer’s patients directly, instead of merely raising awareness for Alzheimer’s. Memory Makers is a respite day program for adults with Alzheimer’s or memory loss due to some form of dementia.
The respite day program is designed to provide socialization for the impaired individual and to provide rest and education to assist the caregiver. It provides participants a therapeutic and safe environment in which they can be comfortable and feel successful.
“I was in the 7th grade when my older brother, Jack, started the tournament,” Charlie Ligon said. “I remember driving around with him and asking people for money and getting so excited when someone would donate.”
The tennis tournament is the primary fundraiser for Oxford High School’s Students for Alzheimer’s organization. Charlie is a rising senior at OHS and president of the organization, as well as director of the tennis tournament this year.
“It has been great because my brother is home from college and it’s just like old times working together on this awesome charity event,” he said. “I can’t wait to have all of the players come out for a fun time of tennis for a great cause. I really love how I have seen this event grow in its support for Memory Makers, and I am so happy to be able to lead this tournament in its continuation of service to one of Oxford’s most important charities.”
Added Jack Ligon, a rising senior at Notre Dame, “I am so proud to see that Students for Alzheimer’s at Oxford High have continued to work to keep this tournament going even after I graduated. Oxonians are such generous citizens in continuing to support this event. Even with COVID and a struggling economy, our little town has come together to raise money for Memory Makers to help serve some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”
The tennis tournament will be at 9 a.m. on July 30 at the John Leslie Tennis Courts. The entry fee is $25 per person and is a mixed doubles format. Participants may sign up now or on the morning of the tournament. There will be also be a silent auction. To make a donation, make checks payable to Memory Makers and drop off at 1121 Mimosa Drive in Oxford.