Friday, September 9, 2011

Berkeley Lab Recruiters in the Community - Darius Jones Foundation 5K Run/Walk

October 11, 2009 was a day I won’t forget.  Our son, Taylor, who was just 14 at the time received a heartbreaking message… his best friend, Darius, had just died.  We didn’t know just how close Taylor and Darius were.  We knew they played basketball together in various summer leagues and talked about trying out for the De La Salle freshman basketball team later that year.  When he said, “I tell Darius everything,” it really hit us.

Darius was a great kid with a great outlook on life.  He was an extraordinary 15 year old young man.  If I could give one example of this it would be his hair.  Darius kept his hair in neat braids.  Upon starting school at De La Salle, he cut his braids off, and donated the hair, rather than letting it end up on a barber shop floor.  The 
Varsity basketball coach at De La Salle, Coach Alocco, asked him why he cut his hair (which we all saw as his trademark).  Darius’ answer was simply, “Going to De La Salle is my dream and now that I’m there, it is time to put childish things away.” – Amazing!

The cause of Darius’ death was determined to be cardiac arrest while playing in a youth basketball game.  As the story goes, Darius was giving it his all (as usual).  The opposing team was going for a lay-up, Darius jumped and knocked the ball away, preventing the other team from scoring.  When Darius went down, he never got up again. 

A foundation was created Darius’ name that provides education and awareness of the need for CPR training, medical pre-screening and on-site AED accessibility with a special emphasis on youth and high school athletic programs.  As Beverly Bradley, Darius’ mother says, “I want to make sure that a parent never feels as helpless as I did that day.”

Darius will never be forgotten, especially by the brotherhood of boys and their families that experienced the loss of one of their own.  I used to sit with Beverly on the bench during those summer games and hear her cheer, “Come on, Jones!”  Today she still attends the De La Salle games, where I witness every player greet her before each game begins because they all carry Darius’ memory with them.

On Saturday, October 8 I will join the Darius Jones Foundation for their 2nd annual 5K Run/Walk fundraiser to help further their goals. Last year's event was a success, as they exceeded their goal and as a result were able to provide 27 AEDs to local schools. This year they’re aiming even higher!

Join me for a great cause!

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