The Gootter Grand Slam returned this spring on April 10th with a world-class lineup of tennis superstars, special honorees and a gala alfresco dinner and auction.
The event supports the many lifesaving accomplishments of the Steven M. Gootter Foundation, which over the past 17 years has raised millions of dollars for ongoing Sudden Cardiac Death research and has distributed over 400 AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) that have been placed in schools, sports venues, public places, non-profit organizations and in law enforcement vehicles throughout Southern Arizona. This year’s event raised $350,000.00 which will be used for additional research and distribution of additional AEDs to first responders.
The 2022 event featured an exhibition match with University of Arizona (UA) Men’s tennis team followed by UA Head Football Coach Jedd Fisch and UA Head Men’s Tennis Coach Clancy Shields taking on the Bryan Brothers (Bob and Mike) – the winningest doubles team in the world. The Grand Slam event concluded with an exciting match between the Bryan Brothers and tennis legends the Jensen Brothers (Murphy and Luke).
Murphy Jensen, a longtime friend of the Gootter Foundation who has appeared at previous Grand Slam events, was given the Gootter Foundation Philanthropic Award, and spoke about his own experience with Sudden Cardiac Arrest in 2021. His life was saved because the sports venue where he had the arrest was equipped with an AED that was used to revive him. He was proud to share that he has come through the ordeal “with a healthy heart and a sound mind.” Always a supporter of the work of the Gootter Foundation, Murphy is now more invested in the cause than ever. “Over the last decade, I have supported the Gootter Foundation’s efforts to raise awareness of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) and the use of AEDs. In fact, I’ve done chest compression-only CPR and AED demonstrations at the Gootter Grand Slam events. I never imagined that someday I would be saved by these techniques.”
Since the Gootter Foundation began placing AEDs throughout Southern AZ, many have been used to save lives. President Andrew Messing is more determined than ever to the Foundation’s mission. “When an elite athlete like Murphy Jensen collapsed on the tennis court from a sudden cardiac arrest, it demonstrated that SCD can happen to anyone. Events like this reinforce the Gootter Foundation’s commitment to eradicate SCD and place lifesaving AEDs throughout the community.”