David Koning was born with hypoplastic left-heart syndrome. He said he was dead for six minutes as a toddler before being revived and he literally has half a heart. He also has cerebral palsy and suffers from seizures.
Yet, he wants children to know that there is always hope.
That’s the idea behind the event that Koning, 22, said he’s put together on Monday. The Laguna Beach High volleyball team manager has set up a “Changing Children’s Lives" event at the Los Angeles Clippers game that day.
The Clippers play the New Jersey Nets at 12:30 p.m., which happens to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Thanks to Koning’s efforts, there is a buy-one, get-one-free ticket offer for that game.
Koning himself has been calling different organizations around the Los Angeles area, like the Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers and Sisters, as well as epilepsy and cerebral palsy organizations. He wants a good turn-out.
“I’ve been trying to do this around the league," said Koning, whose family is a partial season-ticket holder with the Clippers. “I haven’t done it with the Lakers yet, but I’m going to try. I’m doing it mostly for the kids, because you only have one shot at life. Some kids aren’t as wealthy as others. Some kids want to do some things but can’t because they have a bad situation. I wanted to see if I could help them come out for a day of fun."
Koning, a 2007 Laguna Beach High graduate, is used to making phone calls to organizations. It has been tough for him to hold steady work due to his condition, so the Newport Coast resident typically has called game shows, media, or whoever will listen to his own story of survival.
Matthew Gwartz, an inside sales manager for the Clippers, was one of the ones who listened.
“I’ve gotten to know [Koning] over the last six months or so," Gwartz said. “He comes up with a lot of ideas, and that’s one of the great things about him. The event was his idea and it’s something we could help him with. It’s a night to support children."
Next up for Koning? He said he wants to meet Kobe Bryant.