District Council 57

Local 2700 Member Beverly Bradley, Devoted Herself to Honoring Her Son

 

What does one do to cope with the wrenching and inexplicable loss of a beloved child? If you are Local 2700 member Beverly Bradley, you devote yourself to honoring your son and preventing other families from such a tragedy by establishing the Darius Jones Foundation. Darius died of cardiac arrest at the age of 15 playing basketball in a school game. Spectators failed to step in, believing that the coaches could handle the situation. The coaches weren’t aware someone so young could suffer cardiac arrest, so valuable minutes were lost while emergency crews were summoned. “There was no action plan,” said Bradley, known as Bev. “There was even a nurse there watching her friend’s child play. It still haunts her to this day that she didn’t step in.” To compound the tragedy, an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) which could have saved his life was there in the gym, locked in the weight room where no one could get to it.

Bev Bradley has worked for Contra Costa County for thirteen years. She was active on Local 2700’s Social Committee, helping to organize fundraisers and trips to Golden Gate Fields and casinos for gaming. Then her son became so active in basketball, she transferred her energy to support him in that part of his life. After his tragic death she turned her attention toward establishing the foundation in his name.

The Darius Jones Foundation  has as its mission to educate community members (especially in the African-American and Hispanic communities) of the prevalence and dangers of cardiovascular disease among children. A further purpose is to acquire and distribute AEDs in locations that lack them, in order to prevent another child’s death. Her son’s death prompted her to learn everything she could about cardiac arrhythmia. Scouring the internet and any medical literature sources helped her gather the knowledge she needed to do what has become a labor of love. Bev observed, “It has healed my heart. I’m on a new mission with a new purpose, to protect the children. He was my only son, so I see all these kids as my kids. I advocate for them to keep them safe.”

What can AFSCME Council 57 members do to help Bev and the Foundation’s efforts? The Foundation has trained over 8,000 community members and 33 AED’s have been purchased through donations. The cost of an AED with a locked cabinet with an alarm runs around $1,200 so donations in any size help and add up. Donations by union locals and individual members can be made through the donation website.  Foundation representatives are willing and able to come to churches, community groups and schools. Various fundraisers run throughout the year, including an upcoming casino bus trip to Jackson Rancheria on March 23, 2013. “Even small donations add up,” Bev remarked. “What I really need are corporate sponsorships and people who could write a grant for me.” If you have ideas or leads, contact the foundation on the website.
AFSCME Council 57 applauds Bev Bradley for the work she is doing in our communities. The story she has shared is an inspiring one.
 


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