After her aunt’s death, Charles started a foundation with the goal of donating 100 automated external defibrillators every year. She has already bought 142 automatic external defibrillators over the past few years, and will donate approximately $50,000 of her $100,000 salary for the second straight season to purchase more, including 16 that are headed to Europe in July.
“It means a lot just to keep the awareness out there about sudden cardiac arrest,” Charles said. “Taking an interest in others is key in my life. It’s my way of giving back. My passion of placing AEDs. Anything I can do to impact an institution with an AED is extremely important to me.”
The foundation, Hopey’s Heart, provides health education, CPR training and lifesaving AEDs in schools, communities and recreational centers. It honors not only Charles’ aunt but also Wes Leonard, a high school basketball player in Michigan who died in 2011 of sudden cardiac arrest after hitting the winning shot for his team.
Charles is expanding her foundation’s reach to Europe. Starting next season, all EuroLeague women arenas will be required to have an AED on site thanks to Charles, who played in Turkey this past winter.
“People ask me why I want to do this and provide every team and I tell them that I think the best joy of humility is to put the interest of others over yourself,” Charles said in a FIBA press release.
“I commend Tina Charles for all of the great work she does through Hopey’s Heart Foundation,” said FIBA Europe president Turgay Demirel in April. “Tina is a fantastic example of a basketball player making a difference on and off the court, and this project is a welcome contribution to our efforts to provide the safest possible playing environment for our athletes.”