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Teams won’t take a back seat for charity in office chair tourney

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Updated: February 28, 2013 6:50AM

ELGIN — Eight teams took a seat for charity at the annual Reike Office Interiors office chair volleyball tournament.

The tournament was held Thursday night, raising more than $10,000 for wheelchair-bound children and adults.

ROI of Elgin has been hosting the annual R-Game for Chair-ity for six years. The tournament was held inside the firm’s warehouse. All proceeds will benefit Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region’s Positioning and Mobility Clinic.

Last year, the event netted just under $6,000.

“We’re thrilled that Rieke Office Interiors is our organizer and host,” said Erik Johnson, vice president of development at Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region. “This event grows every year. This makes you aware of what we can do when the community comes together.”

The tournament winner was awarded a traveling trophy, six new office chairs, and bragging rights until next year.

“Nobody is playing for prizes,” Johnson said. “We’re playing for a good cause.”

Other sponsors included Advantax Group, Advanced Telecommunications of Illinois Inc., Sam’s Club-Elgin, and Sierra Forest Products.

Sweet Tomatoes provided the food. Eurotech/Siok Contract Reps donated the chairs. Rich Howe Photography donated professional photography services.

The eight teams with six players apiece represented Advantax Group, Eurotech/Siok Contract Reps, Fox Valley Fire and Safety, Maxon/Contract Furniture Resource, Sierra Forest Products, Sweet Tomatoes, United Parcel Service, and Tighe, Kress & Orr, PC.

Theresa Forthofer, president and CEO of Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region, said she grew up in Elgin.

“We have three centers in Elgin, Naperville, and Villa Park,” Forthofer said. “We raised more money this year compared to last year. This is so significant for children’s lives. In our mobility clinic, we work with the client to customize chairs to their needs.”

Wheelchair-bound individuals spend 10 or more hours a day in their chairs. Customized chairs help them to maximize their independence. Rieke Office Interiors sponsors the funding of the Positioning and Mobility Clinic at Easter Seals for these customizations.

A team approach is utilized for the evaluation, fitting and follow-up for wheelchairs, seating systems, standers, car seats, adapted chairs and bath equipment. For children with neurological and/or other diagnoses that cause physical disabilities that affect function, posture, position, skin integrity, and mobility, the clinic is an opportunity to maximize independence and safety in both the home and community.

Westmont resident Calvin Herion, 12, attended the tournament. He has arthrogryposis, a rare congenital disorder. Calvin came with his parents, Brock and Amy; his brothers, BJ, 14, and Beau, 11, and his sister, Genevieve, 6.

“Easter Seals helped to build his chair around his needs,” Brock Herion said. “It has molded cushions and fits his ventilator. Calvin’s biggest issue is that his chest cavity is affected.”

Calvin and his family were able to go to Disney World in 2005 thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Calvin liked Disney World so much that the family now takes him there every year.

“I was born with skeletal and muscular issues,” Calvin said. “That doesn’t stop me from going places. My chair can tilt backward and forward. I usually go to Disney World every year in this chair. My chair is a safe environment. Easter Seals is fantastic.”

For the first time, R-Game for Chair-ity included a photo booth and kid zone for the children who attended the tournament.

Craig Flewelling, a sales representative with Sierra Forest Products, said it was the first time he came to the event.

“It’s wonderful to support a customer who is supporting Easter Seals,” Flewelling said.

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