On March 12, 1999, John H Stewart III was an outstanding 18 year old high school basketball star at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Standing 7-4 inches tall , John was seemingly a healthy, strong spirited"Gentle Giant".
During a March Madness basketball tournament and while his teammates family and friends were cheering him on for that big win, John suddenly collapsed to the floor. He died unexpectedly, The cause of death was a congenital form of Idiopathic Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy(HCM).
John had never exhibited signs of heart disease. In fact, John was screened annually by physicians who indicated that his blood pressure was normal and that his labs were within normal limits-he was always cleared medically to participate in high school athletic events. John, his family and his medical providers were unaware of this condition.
In tribute to his life and to help save the lives of other young athletes with undetected heart disease, the John Stewart lll Foundation for Disadvantage Children(d/b/a John Stewart Foundation) a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 2000 . It's mission, vision and objectives are reflective of John's love for life and passion to help others.
At The John Stewart Foundation, we are committed to promoting wellness and enhancing the quality of life for all people, especially those who are sick, poor, and underserved.We believe in transforming communities and empowering the attendees. It is important to be engaged and relevant to the community. It’s about promoting health, fitness and wellness for everyone and making certain heart disease is detected early. In addition, to the John Stewart Foundation's health platform, the foundation produces back to school events, workshops and festive holiday events for those in the most underserved communities.
Feleica Stewart—CEO, Speaker and Philanthropist, is a woman with a passionate mission that developed as a result of a tragic loss. The statement, “Out of your deepest pain comes your greatest gift,” describes her experience. On March 12,1999, Feleica’s son John Stewart, a star high school basketball player collapsed and died on the basketball court at a regional basketball game. His tragic death was due to sudden cardiovascular disease. Feleica and her grief journey changed her life, perspective, and career. After suffering such a devastating lost, Feleica then started the John Stewart Foundation in which she is now the CEO. The John Stewart Foundation’s goal is to decrease the incidence of sudden cardiac arrest in young people and eliminate sudden cardiovascular disease in young athletes and young adults. The Foundation has successfully placed AED machines in local High Schools. Feleica has traveled throughout the USA educating and bringing awareness of heart disease in young athletes and what signs and symptoms to look for.
Over the years, The John Stewart Foundation has also partnered with noted companies such as Close the Gap, Boston Scientific, NCAA, Final Four, IU Hospital, American College of Sports and Medicine and The Marion County Health Department. The John H. Stewart Foundation also launched a 2-year billboard campaign titled “Don’t Let A Heart Stop Beating.” This campaign brought awareness to the increasing issue of undetected heart disease in kids and young adults. Under Felecia’s leadership, the John Stewart Foundation has been successful in working with local hospitals to screen over 5,000 young athletes. Over 1/3 of those athletes had some form of undetected heart disease.
Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals to educate and empower families across the United States.