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Background Story

Event founder and chair Susie Zammar created Mantels and Martinis in 2012 to honor the legacy of her son Kyle, an accomplished Lee’s Summit High School athlete who died in 2006 at the age of 22 of a rare cardiac condition. Kyle had planned to become a special education teacher and coach. 

On May 29, 2006, Susie Zammar’s son Kyle died at the age of 22 of a cardiac condition called myocarditis. This condition has no recognizable symptoms and is often fatal to young athletic men like Kyle. “The indescribable grief of losing a child can take many forms,” Susie says. “I choose to honor Kyle’s legacy by trying to keep a little of his light burning in this world.”

As a Lee’s Summit High School student, Kyle was an accomplished athlete, broadcaster and leader, and most thought he could have a career in one of those fields. But, after a summer of working in a classroom for special needs children, Kyle dedicated himself to becoming a special education teacher and coach. In addition, at the time of his death, he was coaching a winning 15-year-old boys basketball team.

“My younger son Austin and I have tried to honor Kyle’s legacy by supporting Special Olympics, an organization he enthusiastically championed,” Susie said. ”Many of the students in the summer school classroom where Kyle worked are now young adults and active in the program."

Mantels and Martinis 2014 contributed $20,000 in funds to Lee’s Summit and Eastern Jackson County Special Olympics and allowed the organization to purchase new equipment, provide training facilities, and send athletes to competitions. Ninety percent of the proceeds from Mantels and Martinis will support those athletes continued participation in Special Olympics.

The remaining proceeds from Mantels and Martinis will contribute to the endowment for the long-term upkeep and maintenance of the Longview Arches and Pergola on Longview Farm. “As a resident of New Longview, I take pride in this national treasure, as does all of Lee’s Summit,” Susie says. “Longview Farm was once known as the world’s most beautiful farm and we want to ensure that it never falls into disrepair again.”

Picture above: A Lee's Summit team at the State competition.
Mantels & Martinis was founded to help Special Olympics student and adult athletes to honor Kyle Zammar, who planned to be a Special Education teacher and coach prior to his death at age 22 in 2006.
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