NEW YORK – New York Liberty forward Tina Charles has received the August WNBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by State Farm for her efforts in the New York community.
Charles has pledged to donate her entire 2017 WNBA salary to the Hopey’s Heart Foundation, which she created in 2013. The foundation provides health education, CPR training and lifesaving automatic external defibrillators (AED) in schools, communities and recreational centers. Nearly 300 AED’s have been donated since Hopey’s Heart was founded.
Throughout the month of August, Charles demonstrated her ongoing commitment to assisting the New York community. During Garden of Dreams Night on Aug. 8, Charles met Ava Covington, a 17-year-old battling a heart condition, and they discussed Ava’s story and the work being done by Charles’ foundation. Charles held her annual Hopey’s Heart Foundation event at Tao in New York City on Aug. 30, with the entire Liberty team and coaching staff in attendance.
In August, Charles found out that her efforts through Hopey’s Heart Foundation had resulted in saving a man’s life in Austin, Texas. Dan Carlson was saved by an AED while at the Marbridge Foundation, a residential facility for those with intellectual disabilities, in Texas. Carlson was discovered on the ground and, after using an AED donated by Hopey’s Heart Foundation, Carlson began breathing again. Carlson believes Charles saved his life, and the Marbridge Foundation told Charles about the incident soon after. On Sept. 1, Carlson and Charles’ mother, Angella Murry, surprised Charles at practice.
“Through Hopey’s Heart foundation, I am able to honor my aunt, Maureen “Hopey” Vaz, who passed away from multiple organ failure,” said Charles. “I was inspired by a story about a high school basketball player that passed away from sudden cardiac arrest named Wes Leonard, and how there was not an AED at his high school that could have potentially saved his life. I feel like it is my purpose to use my platform as a professional athlete to give back and make a difference in people’s lives and in my community.”
In addition to the work with Hopey’s Heart, on Aug. 20, Charles met with Emerald Garner, the daughter of the late Eric Garner, following the Liberty’s Unity Night Game. Charles gave the family a signed autograph shoe and is donating her Black History Month sneakers to families that have been affected by police brutality.
The WNBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by State Farm is awarded monthly during the season to the player who best reflects the WNBA’s passion to make a difference in the community. In recognition of Charles’ efforts, the WNBA and State Farm will donate $5,000 to support the Hopey’s Heart Foundation.
Please visit http://www.wnba.com/statefarmcommunityassist/ for more information on the award and its recipients.