One of the WNBA’s finest players, Tina Charles, is using her success to help others! As a 5-time WNBA All-Star, Most Valuable Player, Olympic Gold Medal winner, and fastest women’s basketball player, she has taken it upon herself to help save lives in communities around the world.
Tina has been passionate about spreading awareness and helping less fortunate schools prior to forming her Foundation. She had started out by donating $14,775 for 10 Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, that were to be distributed within the New York school system. After the passing of her aunt, Maureen “Hopey” Vaz, Tina decided to start an organization in her memory in 2013.
Hopey had recently passed away from heart failure, which was a tragic loss for the whole family. She was a very generous, loving person, and Tina wanted to carry on her spirit of giving through Hopey’s Heart Foundation. After learning more about Sudden Cardiac Arrest, Tina really focused her efforts on helping reduce the numbers of children and student athletes’ deaths due to SCA, since it is the leading cause of death in young athletes. Approximately 6,000-8,000 children experience SCA each year and 25% of happen during an athletic event.
Heart disease remains the #1 cause of death globally, with over 17.3 million deaths per year. In the United States, over 400,000 reported cases of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest occur annually. Of those cases that are witnessed by bystanders, and are treatable with CPR and an AED, only 31.4% survive. This is due in part to the fact that only 41% of bystanders will know to perform CPR and use an AED.
Tina knows that spreading awareness and teaching CPR is key. She is not only devoting her time to her foundation, she is also dedicating her salary to it. When asked about her charity by Global Citizen, she said, “I just wanted to be a servant, to put my heart inside the foundation, which was inspiring me, motivating me.” She goes on to say, “I wanted to donate my salary to be able to hand out as many AEDs as I possibly can.” For the past three seasons, she has donated her entire salary to Hopey’s Heart. The Foundation gives AEDs to schools, rec centers, and other institutions that cannot afford them. Hopey’s Heart Foundation also provides CPR and First Aid training in schools. 330 AEDs have been placed around the US and abroad. One man’s life has been saved by a donated Hopey’s Heart AED so far.
When asked about Dan Carlson, the man she helped save from 2000 miles away, Tina said: “I know my aunt would be so happy, and I hope this inspires other people to start their own foundations or just get involved with things they care about.”
We would like to give a special thanks to Tina Charles and her charity, Hopey’s Heart Foundation, for fostering increased awareness and providing greater accessibility to AEDs and CPR training around the world.
If you would like to get involved, you can donate to Hopey’s Heart Foundation at Hopeys Heart.
At AED.us, we are also passionately committed to bringing awareness and training into communities to help save lives! If you know of an organization or institution in need of an AED that may not have the means to acquire one, please visit our Donation page here and fill out the form provided.
- Hopey’s Heart Foundation. “Donate to Hopey’s Heart Foundation.” Hopeys Heart. 5 April 2018.
Written by Blaire Czarniecki
Customer Service Director
Fact checked by Phillip Woods, BA, NREMT-P, FP-C
Blaire attended the University of Tennessee where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology- Child and Family Studies. She has been in the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) industry for over eight years and is the Director of Customer Service for Coro Medical. Blaire is also an American Red Cross-certified CPR/AED/First Aid Instructor, highly trained by each manufacturer on their specific AEDs, and knowledgeable regarding ALL State AED regulations and legislation.
“I know that every day I come to work, I am playing a part in saving someone’s life. I am passionate about these devices and am always looking for new and innovative ways to spread awareness and knowledge about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). I look forward to the day when everywhere I go, I will see an AED—when SCA will no longer take any lives.”
Last updated April 5, 2018