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Metro League Player Spotlight; Susan Bilotta

September 12, 2011 06:22 PM
Susan with her friends and teammates.
Whether it is a USTA league tennis match or raising money to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, Susan Bilotta gives so much of herself but realizes that the team approach is the best way to be successful.

 Susan approaches all challenges in life by following the belief, "Together everyone achieves more." In Susan’s world this means, "Together we win matches and together with The Michael J. Fox Foundation a cure will be found."

 She is a selfless, hard working and motivated woman as evidenced as you get to know her right here, featured in the Metro League Player Spotlight.

 Q: How long have you played tennis and how long have you been playing in the USTA leagues?

 A: I have been playing tennis for over thirty-five years and have played in the USTA leagues for over fifteen years. Tennis, like Tips for Parkinson's, brings people together and some of my closest friends are tennis players.  I am captain of a 3.5 team and they are an amazing group of women. 

 Q: What has USTA league tennis meant to you? 

 A: USTA has given me an outlet to play tennis in NYC, probably one of the most difficult places to get a court.  I have great friends due to tennis and the USTA.  My team not only plays as one but we support and encourage each other off the court.  I am so very lucky to have a team that supports me on and off the court. It takes a team to win on the court and takes a team to put Tips for Parkinson's together.  

 Q: Who/What has inspired you to help others and how did you get involved with the Michael J. Fox Foundation?

 A: My mother and the many people battling Parkinson's Disease each and every day are my inspiration.  I have seen through my mother and the friends I have made through Team Fox the affects of Parkinson's.  I want to help close the doors of The Michael J. Fox Foundation.  That means a cure has been found and I know The Michael J. Fox Foundation will be behind it.  I was introduced to The Michael J. Fox Foundation 10 years ago at The Parkinson's Unity Walk in Central Park.  I was invited to many of their Round Tables that updated individuals on Parkinson's Research and The Foundation's involvement.  It was not until January 2006 when Team Fox was launched that I got really involved.  Team Fox was the grass roots arm of The Michael J. Fox Foundation and was a way for The Michael J. Fox Foundation to support the heroes all over the country who already had made it their personal mission to find uniquely creative and fun ways to raise funds for Parkinson's research.  Team Fox provides guidance, tools and resources for the thousands of amazing people all over the world who are walking, running, baking, party planning, paddling, pedaling, and dancing to raise funds and awareness for Parkinson's research.  

 In Team Fox's first 5 years, members raised $12 million.  Tips for Parkinson's is a bartending competition which started in June 2006 and I have had the event each May since that time. Tips for Parkinson's started in the local bar Vertigo and we raised $14,000.  We continued to have Tips at Vertigo for a total of 4 years and then moved to a larger bar in 2010 and then to the incredible IAC HQ in 2011.  This year we have raised over $190,000. Tips is an event to bring friends together for a cause I believed in and it has grown from an event of 100 friends and family to over 580 people.  I enjoy getting people together and having fun and Tips was a way to do this for an incredible cause. The Michael J. Fox Foundation means there is hope and promise for a cure. The Michael J. Fox Foundation and Team Fox will put an end to the disease.

 Like in USTA tennis Tips for Parkinson's is a TEAM event and it is truly due to the bartenders and friends that have helped to grow Tips for Parkinson's and to increase awareness. The amazing bartenders raised over $90,000 in 2011 before the night of the event. I am blown away by the support and help I have received by colleagues, my tennis team, friends and family.  It is truly amazing!

 Q: What are some goals that you are still working to accomplish? 

 A: I love bringing people together and would like to continue to build awareness and raise more funds.  I am considering forming a 501 (c) (3) Foundation in order to grow and do more for Team Fox - The Michael J. Fox Foundation.  I am honored to be a Team Fox Mentor to other Team Fox members and I would like to inspire others to do more.  

 Right now a donation will be matched by Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki, cofounder of 23andMe.  The couple recently issued a $50 million challenge grant that provides a dollar-to-dollar match for all new, returning and increased donations to the Foundation.  Tips is an example since we raised $52,000 more than we did in 2010 The Foundation will ultimately receive over $237,000 as a result of the event.  

 For more information or to donate please go to www.teamfox.org, www.michaeljfox.org, www.tipsforparkinsons.org