The Hopey’s Heart Foundation was formed in memory of Tina Charles’ late aunt Maureen “Hopey” Vaz, who died of multiple organ failure on March 9th, 2013. Hopey was known for having a very giving heart and when her own heart failed it was a tragic loss to her family and an eye-opener to Charles, who prior to the passing of her aunt, made a $14,775 donation for ten Automated External Defibrillators (AED) to the New York Department of Education and the Wes Leonard Heart Team.
The Wes Leonard Heart Team is dedicated to purchasing and distributing AEDs to schools in and around the State of Michigan.. Wes Leonard was a basketball player at Fennville High who died of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) at the end of his basketball game in March 2011. Having an AED on-site would have saved Leonard’s life. After being moved by the sad and sudden loss of Wes Leonard and her aunt’s untimely death, Charles refocused her efforts to help reduce the chances of student athletes falling victim to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Mirroring her aunt Maureen’s giving-heart, the Hopey’s Heart Foundation was founded in April 2013.
The Foundation will host an AED Grant Program which will supply eligible schools or recreational centers with life-saving AED equipment. The AED Grant Program will award AEDs quarterly and participants will be required to complete a 500-word application and waiver form agreeing to the terms and policies of the Program.
The Hopey’s Heart Foundation was founded to prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest from claiming the lives of promising student athletes like Wes Leonard. It is committed to providing AEDs nationally for the prevention of heart and other injuries in student and amateur athletes through the provision of health education and medical equipment in schools, community and recreational centers. The Hopey’s Heart Foundation is committed to improving sports safety and raising awareness of Sudden Cardiac Arrest throughout the country.