Janesville56.8°

Kvapil’s team honors late basketball player

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Associated Press
June 20, 2011
— Janesville native Travis Kvapil took some time before the Sprint Cup race Sunday to meet with the family of Wes Leonard, the Michigan high school basketball player who died this year after making a winning shot.

Kvapilís No. 38 Ford carried the logo of the Wes Leonard Heart Team on its rear quarter panels. The foundation was set up in Leonardís memory to honor children who have lost their lives to sudden cardiac arrest and help prevent similar tragedies in the future.


ďItís been 13 weeks, and Iím still all over the place,Ē said Leonardís mother, Jocelyn. ďI never know if itís going to be a bad day or a good day, but every time I work with our heart team, itís better because at least Iím doing something important.Ē


The 16-year-old Leonard had cardiac arrest March 3 because of an enlarged heart.


The Wes Leonard Heart Team is lobbying for legislation providing schools with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and training to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest in athletes.


ďThereís been a lot more kids in this country that died from sudden cardiac arrest since Wesley 13 weeks ago,Ē Jocelyn Leonard said. ďOur kids canít die because we donít make our schools buy AEDs, period. ... Everybody should want to save lives for $1,400. Thatís it. Itís $1,400 per school.Ē


Jim Leonard, the boyís uncle, was overcome with emotion during the day at the racetrack. He described himself and his nephew as casual racing fans.


ďThe overall response from just everybody has been overwhelming,Ē he said.


ďI spent 10 minutes crying just thinking how much he would enjoy being here to see this.Ē



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