Rising star remembered at Stefani Forever 20 event
by Natalie Rios
Aug 07, 2018 | 1528 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stefani Forever 20
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In 2016, the West Side Tennis Club mourned the loss of a beloved member in Stefani Lineva.

Lineva was a nationally ranked tennis champion at the club. She was also the youngest female champion at 13 years old. She would go on to win tournaments in 2010, 2012 and 2013. In October of 2016, she became the singles Northeast 10 Conference champion for women's tennis.

She attended Binghamton University to study child psychology. In December 2016, Lineva was drugged at a party and later killed in a hit-and-run accident.

Daniela Atanassova, Lineva's mother, is striving to keep her daughter's memory alive. On July 29, the “Stefani Forever 20” foundation was officially established.

At the kickoff event, a juniors tennis tournament was held in her memory at WSTC.

Atanassova started working on the foundation in 2017 with a goal to fight underage drinking and drug use by students on college campuses.

The club was decorated in purple for the event, as lavender was Lineva’s favorite color. Friends and family wore purple shirts and bracelets. Purple tennis balls were also used for each match.

“With her, we started the tradition of playing barefoot on the grass courts on my birthday,” Atanassova said. “I chose to spend my day, today, with her and this is the way I’m doing it.”

Lineva and her family have been club members for over 15 years. The WSTC community was eager to come together in support.

Atanassova, a pediatrician, was honored to see the crowd, and some of her patients even came from out of state.

The Stefani Forever 20 Foundation also hopes to provide scholarships for tennis athletes and medical students.

Atanassova also said that she would like to fund research into developing a "buddy bracelet" to ensure that teens and students will always be able to find each other in case of emergency.

To donate visit, stefaniforever20.com.

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