Rockaways resident’s pickleball charity event raises $5,000 for Alzheimer’s Association

Attendees at Pickleball for Pop (Photo courtesy of Krishna Knabe)

Rockaways resident Adam Funtleyder organized and hosted the first annual Pickleball for Pop charity event at the Alley Pond Tennis Center on Saturday, April 9. The event attracted more than 100 people and raised over $5,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Funtleyder’s father, Elliot, passed away from Alzheimer’s earlier this year.

The event, held during National Pickleball Month, featured a round-robin tournament, open play and a beginner clinic. There was also a raffle with prizes including wine baskets, beach gear and a yoga gift card. Among those who attended the event were friends and family of Funtleyder and former students and colleagues from P.S. 215.

It was while helping to take care of his father during the pandemic that Funtleyder discovered pickleball. According to Funtleyder, it helped him get out of his home and stay active.

Pickleball is great because it’s easy to start,” Funtleyder said. “It’s really open to anybody and I think Pickleball for Pop shows that. You could come as a beginner or a very experienced player and fit in and have a great time.”

He also viewed pickleball as a theme for an Alzheimer’s Association charity event because it also provides attendees with a lot of entertainment.

“I thought of pickleball because it’s not just asking for money,” Funtleyder said. “It’s a fun night out that also benefits an organization that helped my family.”

Adam and Elliot Funtleyder (Photo source courtesy of Krishna Knabe)

Funtleyder said his mother has a long history of supporting various charity causes. He and his family got to know the Alzheimer’s Association after his father’s diagnosis and they wanted to do something for the organization that provided so much help to them in a time of need.

According to Funtleyder, the Alzheimer’s Association was a huge source of support for his family throughout the pandemic.

We couldn’t go to support groups or socialize much, but we had the Alzheimer’s Association Helpline,” Funtleyder said. “My whole family called, but my mother used it the most.” The 24/7 Helpline can be reached at 800-272-3900.

Mitch Hymowitz, an event manager for the Alzheimer’s Association, said the organization was very grateful to the Funtleyder family for organizing this event.

“Adam turned an activity he enjoys into a way to support families affected by Alzheimer’s, all while grieving his own loss,” Hymowitz said.

Funtleyder’s father was a music teacher at P.S. 215 and passed his love of music onto Adam. According to Funtleyder, his father taught him how to play the piano.

Like his father, he ended up turning his love of music into a career. He now works as a DJ, going by the stage name DJ Mugsy Mugs.

Funtleyder hopes to make Pickleball for Pop an annual event. He wants the event to bring people together to support families dealing with Alzheimer’s.

“I know my father is looking down and he’s very proud,” Funtleyder said at the event.

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