Crowdfunding for ill tennis player
Mekhi Gbedey, winner of the 1st Annual Jimmy Evert Sportsmanship Award for the Boys 14’s Clay Court Nationals in 2017. A rare form of Muscular Dystrophy has stopped his competitive rise. Photo via Evert Tennis Academy

WEST PALM BEACH — The family of a ranked junior tennis player, diagnosed with a rare form of an illness, has launched a crowdfunding effort to help with his treatment. Mekhi Gbedey, 20,  was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, with complications and has been unable to compete in the United States Tennis Association competitions that once seemed so promising for the family. 

“Mekhi is functioning at the level of an 80-year-old man, because his body cannot tolerate anything physical,” said Camille Etienne Gbedey, their Haitian-born mother.

Mekhi’s older brother Khaleel, 22, started the Go Fund Me page earlier this month to raise money for his sibling’s medical care. The family hopes the fundraiser will not only raise money for the expensive care they foresee, but also make the public aware. “Maybe there's a doctor out there who can help with [the specifics of] what's going on with Mekhi,” Etienne said. 

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J.O. Haselhoef is the author of “Give & Take: Doing Our Damnedest NOT to be Another Charity in Haiti.” She co-founded "Yonn Ede Lot" (One Helping Another), a nonprofit that partnered with volunteer groups in La Montagne ("Lamontay"), Haiti from 2007-2013. She writes and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.