HOUSTON (November 5, 2018) – As One Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded by retired NFL star Devard Darling, will host its 9th Annual Darling Dash 5k sponsored by UT Physicians Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center. The event will take place at 8 a.m. on Feb. 24 at Stude Park in the Houston (1031 Stude Street, Houston, TX 77007.) A growing list of pro athletes, including former Houston Texans’ Chester Pitts, FSU Seminole’s Myron Rolle and Pittsburgh Steelers’ Darrius Heyward-Bey have been invited to be on hand for photos and autographs. This year, the team with the largest number of participants will have VIP access and a tent outfitted with special prizes.
A former wide receiver for the NFL, Darling founded As One Foundation in memory of his identical twin brother, Devaughn, whose death was related to sickle cell disease. The dash will fund As One Foundation’s Operation Hydration. The training program educates student athletes, coaches and staff about the correlation between sickle cell attacks and poor hydration. Proceeds will also go to the foundation’s scholarship program. “I know how terrible it feels to lose someone you love,” said Darling. “It pains me my brother’s death could’ve easily been prevented if we were more informed about sickle cell. Our goal is to prevent tragedies like this from happening through awareness and support.”
Online registration is open at DarlingDash5k.com through race day from $25 to $40 and the first 1,000 finishers will receive medals. The goal is to raise $50,000 and exceed past prior fundraising efforts.
The 2019 Darling Dash marks the 18th anniversary of Devaughn Darling’s death at 18 due to exhaustion and dehydration during football practice. Both Darling brothers carry the sickle cell trait, which can be fatal when paired with physical rigor and lack of hydration.
According to the American Football Coaches Association, sickle cell trait-related deaths lead the causes of death of collegiate football players. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 100,000 Americans have sickle cell disease. The CDC states people with sickle cell disease have less access to comprehensive care than people with genetic disorders such as hemophilia and cystic fibrosis.
ABOUT AS ONE FOUNDATION
The mission of As One Foundation is to educate and increase awareness of sickle cell trait while encouraging youth to achieve their dreams in the face of life’s challenges. On Feb. 26, 2001, Devaughn Darling lost his life due to sickle cell disease coupled with exhaustion during spring football practice at Florida State University. His identical twin brother, Devard Darling, persevered after the tragedy. He became an NFL star, but his most noteworthy accomplishment was founding As One Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to honoring Devaughn’s life while elevating awareness of sickle cell trait. For more information on As One Foundation visit, www.AsOneFoundation.org and @AsOneFoundation on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.