The girls tennis teams at Lyons Township High School gathered today at the South Campus tennis courts to receive a gift from the family of Kelli O'Laughlin.
Brenda and John O'Laughlin, the parents of Kelli, hugged players as they passed out the team's new uniforms.
"We really haven't had jerseys supplied by the school in about 14 years," said head tennis coach Bill Wham. "Every year we've had hit parents up for $150, so it will be a big help."
Previously, the team's uniforms have been piecemeal athletic shirts and blue shorts, without much uniformity. Now, each player will have a white tennis skirt and a white and blue athletic tank top that will soon have the LT logo and Kelli O'laughlin's initials monogrammed on them.
"Wear them with pride and play hard in them," coach Wham told the team before passing the new uniforms out.
Kelli O'Laughlin played tennis for LT in her freshman year. She was killed when she returned home from school in November last year and walked in on a burglary. John L. Wilson Jr. was charged with her murder soon after and currently awaits trial.
The O'Laughlins said they decided to donate the uniforms to give them girls confidence at upcoming meets this year.
"We wanted the team to look cohesive and the uniforms will help them feel part of a bigger team," Brenda said.
Currently, the Kelli Joy O'Laughlin Memorial Fund has raised about $175,000, the O'Laughlins said. At the end of last school year, the first donations to students were made with $2,500 college scholarships for two students. Later this year, the fund will also pay for a student to attend a week at Camp Tecumseh, a camp that Kelli enjoyed attending each summer.
Family and friends have organized a fundraiser for the memorial fund on Nov. 11. For more information, click here.
"We're hoping to have 1000 runners show up," Brenda said.
Entry fees are $25 for the run and $12 to join the walk. Kids can also participate with a free 50-yard dash at the event.
"We're hoping it will help benefit a lot of kids," John said.