It may be the last charity tennis tournament Cale Balusek hosts before going off to college, so he made sure it was the best.
Balusek, a senior at Flower Mound High School, hosted this third annual Love Babies tennis tournament in November at Coppell's Wagon Wheel Tennis Center and Flower Mound High School. Proceeds each year go to the Baylor Health Care System Foundation.
On Dec. 19 he and his family presented a check to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Grapevine for $24,200. The tournament itself raised $20,200, and a private donor contributed an extra $4,000.
This surpasses last year's mark of $16,500 and the 2017 total of $7,000. Balusek said this year's goal was to raise $20,000.
Balusek began Love Babies in 2017 as a way to raise money for the Baylor Health Care System Foundation, which will give the money to the NICU department for supplies to help premature babies survive.
That's important to Balusek because the NICU did so much for him. When Balusek was born on April 30, 2001, he was 10 weeks premature. His twin brother, Caden, had died at 26 weeks.
Balusek was born at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Grapevine but was transferred to the Garland facility, where he stayed for about one month. Then he was transferred to the Baylor NICU in Irving for another month. Finally, he was healthy enough to go home.
In 2017 Balusek said he wanted to give back to the NICU.
“As we walked out of the NICU, I saw a mom holding her preemie sitting in a Kangaroo recliner we funded last year through Love Babies,” Balusek said in a Facebook post. “It was that moment that made me realize the impact this community has had on families of preemies.”
This year's event featured a singles UTR tournament and a women's doubles tournament.
In three years, Love Babies has raised $48,000.