Daniel and Carla Rodriguez of Redondo Beach, celebrate after winning the 2013 Division A Mixed doubles competition in the Jester & Pharley Phund Doubles Tennis Tournament. Photo courtesy of Barbara Saltzman
When David Saltzman completed his senior project at Yale University he had no idea of the future impact it would have on the lives of children and their parents.
Majoring in Art and History at the Ivy League institution, the Chadwick High School graduate wrote and illustrated the children’s book “The Jester Has Lost His Jingle.”
Prior to David’s death from Hodgkin’s disease at the age of 22 in 1990, Saltzman’s family promised him that his book would be published as he envisioned it and that its universal message of hope, laughter and self-empowerment would be shared with children coping with cancer.
The mission was to provide a free copy of the book to every child in the United States who was diagnosed with cancer. When the book was released in 1995, there were more than 10,000 children in the country being treated for cancer. That number has since increased to over 13,000.
This weekend, the second annual Jester & Pharley Phund Benefit Doubles Tennis Tournament will be held at Alta Vista Park, 715 Julia St., Redondo Beach with proceeds supporting the donation of “The Jester Has Lost His Jingle” book to children being treated for cancer at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
Competition will take place Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The tournament includes men’s, women’s and mixed doubles in a single elimination, no-ad scoring and two-out-of-three set plays format.
This year, a silent auction and raffle with numerous items from popular local businesses will be held on Saturday from 5-8 p.m. with a guitarist scheduled to provide musical entertainment.
David’s parents, Joe and Barbara Saltzman mortgaged their house to help fund the five-year project of making the publication of “The Jester Has Lost His Jingle” become a reality.
“David cared a lot about others and it’s a great feeling to know his legacy lives on and his book has helped so many people,” Barbara Saltzman said. “In high school, he volunteered for Safe Rides, providing transportation for people who had been drinking. David also tutored low-income children in San Pedro. He used his alter ego in the book, drawing the main character to look like him.”
Since the book’s release in late 1995, more than 165,000 Jester books and Jester & Pharley Dolls have been donated to children nationwide to provide laughter and hope at a critical time in their lives. The book is now available in Spanish.
“The tennis tournament is a wonderful opportunity to inform the community of the Jester & Pharley Phund while providing fun and exciting entertainment,” Barbara Saltzman said.
Based in Palos Verdes Estates, the non-profit Jester & Pharley Phund also has developed literacy programs with Read-A-Thons that give students the opportunity to donate Jester books and dolls to ill or special-needs children in their community.