October 11, 2009, was the date. Darius Jones, a De La Salle freshman, a member of the class of 2013, was playing youth-league basketball at a gym in Pleasant Hill and fell to the floor in mid-game, never to revive, his life cut short by an unsuspected heart condition that caused a sudden cardiac arrest. He was 15 years old. His mother, Beverly Bradley of Pittsburg, and others who loved Darius, determined to do some good in his memory and to help young people, schools, and sports facilities to be better prepared to handle the rare instances when cardiac arrest occurs.
Beverly founded the Darius Jones Foundation, whose motto is “Saving Lives with Education and Awareness.” Each year at the anniversary of Darius’s death, the Foundation sponsors a 5 K Run/Walk to raise funds for its work and to increase community awareness. The third annual run is Saturday, October 13, 2012, from 8 a.m. to noon, at the Martinez Regional Shoreline (an East Bay Regional Park). A flyer for the 2012 Run is under 'Related Files' at right. The photo shows students and coaches from the Spartan soccer team at the Darius Jones Run in 2011. A farewell to Darius from the Winter 2010 UNION magazine is also posted under 'Related Files.'
About its first three years of work, the foundation says this: “We have made tremendous strides! To raise awareness about the importance of Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillators (AED) placements, presentations were made to the Boys & Girls Club, Contra Costa County Supervisors, Congressman George Miller, Pittsburg Kiwanis, Contra Costa County Soccer League, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools, Director of the Contra Costa Public Health Department, and to the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The foundation formed partnerships with American Medical Response, Annuvia, and the HeartSafe Community program. In collaboration with our partners, the foundation participated in CPR training with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District for all high school freshmen students (about 3,000 students per year). Fundraising events have included Casino Bus Trips, events with Kinder’s BBQ and the Oakland Athletics, as well as our annual 5K Run/Walk in October. These events allowed the foundation and its partners to provide AEDs for our local schools and free CPR training to our communities. Since 2010, the Darius Jones Foundation has proudly distributed 30 AEDs to local schools. Through our Hands Only CPR Program, the Darius Jones Foundation has trained approximately 10,000 community members! Placement of these AEDs and CPR Training will help save the lives of student-athletes and children in Contra Costa County and beyond. We sincerely thank all of our supporters.”
The website is www.DariusJonesFoundation.org.