Kiwanis Wheelchair Basketball Challenge Accepted

From left: Aimee Levinson, Kathy Levinson, Zhenko Begg, Steve Fishman, Peter Douris, Chris Reyes, John Kim, Phyllis Burnett, Rosemary Olsen, Jeff Stone.
Front row: Mike Zangari, Ann Marie Galius

Members of Kwon’s Wellness of Manhasset left the martial arts studio to sit down in wheelchairs and participate in the first annual Wheelchair Basketball Challenge sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Glen Cove. The Kwon’s Wellness team competed against wheelchair athletes as a fundraiser to raise money for Kiwanis services in the community.

Five teams participated in the challenge to play against the competitive wheelchair athletes. Team Kwon’s Wellness included Dr. Peter Dourus, Dr. Zhenko Begg, Steve Fishman, John Kim, Chris Reyes and Jeff Stone. Jeff is currently the president of the Kiwanis Club of Manhasset-Port Washington.

The team, more at ease sparring and doing back spinning kicks at the studio, left their comfort zones to strap themselves into wheelchairs for this good cause. Dr. Dae Keun Kwon, owner and director of Kwon’s Wellness, said “When we were asked to compete, we said yes right away. We were happy to help the community.”

Dr. Peter Douris, who’s been playing basketball for the last 30 years on Saturday mornings at Christopher Morley Park, said “Sitting in a wheelchair playing ball is very different because you’ve got to coordinate the ball and the chair at the same time—that’s not easy.”

Kathy Levinson, Lt. Governor for the Long Island North Division of Kiwanis and a member of Kwon’s Wellness, said, “I am proud of the team but not surprised that the studio wanted to participate. Dr. Kwon runs an amazing studio—great people.”

Once Team Kwon’s Wellness got the hang of the wheelchairs, they proved to be quick learners. Soon they were speeding down the court passing and taking shots. By game’s end, there was a lot of sweat and puffing, but as Jeff Stone said, “It wasn’t easy, but it was fun.”

For nearly 27 years, Kwon’s Wellness has had a long-time presence in Manhasset. Located at 8 Hillcrest Ave., Kwon’s is a traditional martial arts studio for students from ages three to ninety-two.

The fundraiser was organized by the Kiwanis Club of Glen Cove. Like all Kiwanis clubs around the world, it is a service organization with a simple, but important mission, “To change and improve the lives of children, one community at a time.” During the course of a year, Kiwanis will send needy children to camp, cook at the homeless shelter, build food pantries, provide scholarships to graduating seniors and much more. Kiwanis seeks to make a difference wherever there is a need.

Interested in community service and changing a child’s life, contact Levinson at 516-650-1959 or Stone at 917-741-8294 for the Kiwanis Club of Manhasset-Port Washington. The club meets on the second and fourth Thursday of the month for lunch at the Port Washington Yacht Club.

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Elizabeth Johnson is former editor of Manhasset Press and Manhasset Press Magazine. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations. Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted "Best Community Newspaper" several years in a row.


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