Charles Honored With Margo Dydek Award

The Connecticut Sun recognized Tina Charles as its 2013 Woman of Inspiration, honoring her with the second annual Margo Dydek Award prior to tipoff of the game against the Chicago Sky on July 12th at Mohegan Sun Arena.

The reigning WNBA MVP, Charles was selected for this award because of her remarkable generosity and tireless efforts to help those in need. Charles follows Rebecca Lobo, who received the inaugural Margo Dydek Award last August. She received a donation of $1,000 from the Connecticut Sun Foundation.

“Margo was a special person who was known as much for her open spirit as she was for her talent on the basketball court,” Connecticut Sun Vice President and General Manager Chris Sienko said of Dydek, who died unexpectedly at the age of 37 following a heart attack on May 27, 2011. “In that sense, she has a great deal in common with Tina, who embodies so much of what Margo was about.”

This past April, Charles established The Hopey’s Heart Foundation in memory of her late aunt Maureen ‘Hopey’ Vaz, who died of multiple organ failure on March 9th. Prior to the passing of her aunt, Charles was inspired to donate $14,775 to purchase 10 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) after learning about the tragic death of Wes Leonard, a high school basketball player from Michigan who died of heart failure at the end of a game in 2011. In the wake of her aunt’s death, Charles decided to continue this mission. The Hopey’s Heart Foundation will host an AED Grant Program to supply this life-saving equipment to eligible schools and recreation centers, and Charles has also pledged to donate one AED for each double-double she records. She has eight already this year.

“I am so honored to receive this award and to be associated with Rebecca Lobo and Margo Dydek,” Charles said. “I have been blessed to wake up every day and play a sport I love, and get paid for it. I think basketball is just a way for me to channel out and reach others.”

The AED Grant Program is just the latest example of how dedicated Charles is to helping others. In the winter of 2011, Charles donated $32,000 to underwrite the construction of a school in Mali, Africa. The school opened in April of 2012, and it has three class rooms that can accommodate 150 elementary school students.

Charles also donated a shipment of athletic shoes she purchased from Nike to girls’ and boys’ athletic programs at Saint Jago High School, which is located in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, Jamaica. Charles’ mother, Angella Murry, was born and raised in Jamaica, and three of her aunts and one uncle graduated from Saint Jago High School.

Additionally, Charles has committed to funding three four-year full scholarships for girls in Africa through Connect-To-Learn, a global initiative dedicated to helping educate children in impoverished areas.

To learn more about The Hopey’s Heart Foundation, visit http://www.hopeysheart.org.