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 UCLA 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 to 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.”

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. 

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