by Kayla Sturm
When Denico Buckley’s friend Kimyata Cooper Jr. passed away suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 34 last May, Buckley decided something had to be done to reduce health care disparities in the Summit County minority male population.
“Last year in May at the Barberton YMCA, he was playing basketball, but suffered from a heart attack and died moments later,” said Buckley. “Come to find out he had 90% clogged heart artery on one side and the other side had an 80% blockage.”
After the sudden passing of Cooper, Buckley and his friends held an event at East Summit Lake Community Center to raise money for Cooper’s family.
“To help raise some money we started a gofundme account which roughly raised $2,000, and at the Hoop for Coop event we raised an additional $2,000 by selling dinners and taking donations,” said Buckley.
The success of the event gave Buckley, Case Manager at Buchtel CLC, and his colleagues an idea to better the community.
“We want to provide free health screenings in an attempt to help reduce the health care disparities in the Summit County minority male population as well as to educate the community about high blood pressure and cardiovascular related issues in the Summit County minority male population,” said Buckley. “Our goal was to just get as many people as Kimayata touched and show some love for his legacy and we wanted to raise some money for his family.”
Now the first official Hoop for Coop Minority Men’s Health Fair will be held Saturday, June 3 from 12 – 5 pm. Anyone who attends gets a FREE health scan! The event will also provide health information to educate the community.
“We have about 20 different vendors providing health information on high blood pressure and cardiovascular [health]. Summa and Cleveland Clinic Akron General will be joining us as well,” said Buckley. “Proceeds raised from concessions at this event will eventually go toward the Hoop for Coop Scholarship, which will be presented to a student athlete in Summit county.”