Growing Stronger With Tennis: Debi Strauch
Avid runner, champion for a cause, passionate 4.0 USTA League tennis player, cancer survivor, inspiration. These are just a few of the words you could use to describe Debi Strauch, a USTA Mid-Atlantic League tennis player from Northern Virginia.
For Debi, tennis came at a time when she was battling back and recovering from Leukemia, a cancer of the blood cells that usually starts in the bone marrow. Debi even underwent a bone marrow transplant and today, she is proud to be a cancer survivor.
Debi’s love for tennis came within five years of her diagnosis of Leukemia, in a most unusual way. While shopping at Costco she noticed a cute tennis skirt. This skirt piqued her interest in tennis and she sought out the opportunity to start playing the sport. Soon, she became a USTA Member and started playing at Ida Lee Tennis Center in Leesburg, Va. She played singles for a 2.5 team and was hooked.
“I love tennis because you can always improve your game … and it's really all about the outfits!!” Debi says.
Along her tennis journey, she was growing stronger and improving her overall health and tennis game. Debi began to get more involved with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and in 2014 started participating in the Team in Training program running two half marathons. She discovered that running helped her tennis game so she added competing in half marathons and 10-mile runs to her growing list of accomplishments. She currently runs six half marathons and two to three 10-mile runs each year.
Debi continued to also focus on her tennis game, playing league tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section. She is now a 4.0 player, and she has had the opportunity to play at USTA League Nationals three times! She plays tennis three to four times each week and when she is not playing matches she is working with her coach, DJ Butler.
Debi’s advice to other players, “don't get discouraged. You continue to learn every time you pick up a racquet.”
In addition to beating cancer, growing her tennis game, and avidly running she is a champion for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). They’ve had her speak at meetings and share her inspirational story.
“It was really a challenge because I didn't talk about my past of being so sick before. It was actually a healing experience emotionally,” Debi recalls of this experience.
She has worked hard to raise money for research to find a cure and treatment options for patients with blood cancers. Because of her efforts, LLS of the National Capital Area invited Debi to be part of the 2020 Man & Woman of the Year Campaign, a prestigious philanthropic competition that will take place for 10 weeks kicking off at the end of March.