A Mother Speaks To Create Awareness In Her Community

"I want people to hear the story and take action. Don't wait until tomorrow. Don't wait for next week. Get the heart screening. It can save a life. It can save your child's life" - Ruqayya Gibson

Over a year ago, Coach Cody Glenn of Cy Fair (TX) decided to create the inaugural Damani Gibson Memorial Relays in honor of one of his athlete's passing due to sudden cardiac arrest. 

Glenn ultimately received a blessing from Damani's mother, fellow coach Ruqayya Gibson, on hosting the event to remember her son.

February 19 will be the day -- weather permitting -- when the Bobcats and other teams will line up to compete in honor of Gibson.

When Ruqayya heard that the school wanted to have a memorial relay meet for her son, she described it as "breathtaking."

Since her son's passing, Coach Gibson has been busy to make a difference in her community. 

February is American Heart Month and Coach Gibson wanted to hit all angles. She wanted to educate people on how to use AEDs and perform CPR at her son's memorial track meet starting at noon. 

According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, there are more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) annually in the U.S. and nearly 90-percent of them are fatal. In a recent report from 2020, roughly 7,000 of those deaths impact children. By bringing awareness, having conversations and being open to receiving education information, as a community we can help save lives. 

At the meet, Coach Gibson will be joined by ten other parents who also had personal experience with losing a child and one survivor will be in attendance to speak with the teams, spectators and athletes about their journies. 

Coach Gibson is working on a few projects to bring awareness of sudden cardiac arrest. Even while being an assistant coach for the University of Houston, Coach Gibson is in the midst of creating a documentary. The evening of Gibson's passing, she couldn't believe there wasn't a movie or documentary about this.

Therefore, this wasn't on her radar. 

Coach Gibson is also pushing for a law to include sudden cardiac arrest awareness in the coaching education. An individual from the state representative office will also be a apart of the meet to address that as well. Coach Gibson continues to push to have the Damani's Law to be created, which will require education for coaches to give to athletes. 

The Damani Gibson Foundation continues to touch lives as Coach Gibson has educated almost 1,500 people since he passed and about 900 in the month of October.