LOS ANGELES, Feb. 7, 2022 — College basketball star Shareef O’Neal is joining the fight against heart disease and stroke by supporting the American Heart Association, devoted to a world of healthier lives for all. O’Neal, who plays for Louisiana State University men’s basketball team, is raising funds for the Association’s Life is Why campaign through proceeds from his collection of NFTs — or non-fungible tokens — including one celebrating American Heart Month in February.

O’Neal, son of NBA hall of famer Shaquille O'Neal, was preparing to start his basketball career with the University of California Los Angles Bruins when he was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect affecting the coronary artery. Following open-heart surgery in December 2018, the Los Angeles native, spent months in rehabilitation and had to relearn how to walk again.

“I’m truly excited about the chance support the American Heart Association’s lifesaving mission,” said O’Neal. “My family and I went through a lot with my surgery. When I was in the hospital, I was continually inspired by child survivors. Those experiences drove me to get back on the court and to the game that I love. Now I want to use my journey to give hope and impact the future of heart health. Together we have an opportunity to raise funds and make a huge difference.”

O’Neal’s three-year fundraising campaign aims to inspire giving to support the American Heart Association’s mission of driving equitable health for all and improving and saving lives from heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death globally.

“We believe every person deserves the opportunity for a full, healthy life, but this is not the reality for many people in our community due to socioeconomic factors beyond their control,” said Nancy Brown, American Heart Association Chief Executive Officer. “We are so appreciative of Shareef’s commitment to help elevate our mission and raise critical funds to help remove barriers to health equity, advance innovative research and power the next generation of lifesavers through CPR education.”

Donations through the Life is Why campaign support the Association’s efforts to:

  • Provide funding support to local entrepreneurs and organizations working to improve health outcomes in under-resourced communities;
  • Fund research that can improve the health outcomes of heart and stroke patients;
  • Train more than 2.5 million high school students in CPR annually.

To learn more about the Life Is Why campaign, visit www.heart.org/lifeiswhy

Photos are available on the right column of the release link


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries:

Linzy Cotaya: 504-872-3446; linzy.cotaya@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org