When summer turns into autumn, it is time for the tennis trophy from the non-profit company “Dumusstkektiven” (DMK). Next Saturday it will take place for the seventh time on the grounds of the TEC Darmstadt, the home club of Andrea Petković and Jonathan Heimes, whose life and history founded the initiative. “Johnny” Heimes died in 2016 at the age of 26 after a long battle with cancer. This seventh tennis trophy is also in his memory and, as in previous years, an enormous amount of donations will be distributed.
Last year around 260,000 euros went to various projects, including the association “Help for children with cancer in Frankfurt”, which pays three sports scientists to enable children with cancer to receive sports therapy care on the ward of the university clinic. Further donations went to the KinderPalliativTeam Südhessen and the ActiveOncoKids network. In total, the DMK initiative has been able to distribute more than two million euros since it was founded in 2015.
The tennis trophy is the highlight of the “Dumusstkkampf” year. Here professionals, current and former, play with amateurs and recreational athletes who have secured participation through donations. Hostess Andrea Petković, Anna-Lena Grönefeld, Rainer Schüttler, Michael Kohlmann, Bernd Karbacher, Karsten Braasch and many other well-known professionals have served at TEC in recent years.
The long Darmstadt tennis day, in which the 14-year-old German youth champion in wheelchair tennis, Ela Porges from Seeheim, will also take part this year, starts at 10 a.m. and ends in the evening with the Player’s Party, a gala attended by around 250 guests in the Clubhouse of the TEC are expected. The DMK Prize is traditionally awarded at the gala, an honor that was most recently accepted by the paraplegic Olympic cycling champion Kristina Vogel 2019. This year the winner is Tore Meinecke.
It was June 28, 1989 when Meinecke’s first life ended in a terrible accident. The Hamburg tennis professional, then 21 years old, had played a tournament in Clermont-Ferrand in France, lost to his friend Ricki Osterthun in the second round, and now they were sitting in the car, a chauffeur was supposed to take them back to the hotel. Meinecke and his brother Björn sat in the back, not buckled up.
35 days in a coma
In the front, Ricki Osterthun was sitting next to the driver. A traffic light. Green. Orange. The chauffeur accelerated. From the left a French military truck. A terrible bang. Meinecke’s head hit the door frame with force. He passed out, was no longer breathing. Rescue workers resuscitated him and took him to the hospital. Diagnosis of brain trauma. He was artificially ventilated and was in a coma.
Whether he would ever wake up, walk or talk again, the doctors said you couldn’t tell, time would tell. After around four weeks, Meinecke was transferred to the Hamburg University Clinic by helicopter. Even the medical professionals there did not want to give Meinecke’s family and his girlfriend Celine high hopes.