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Life’s full of highs & lows. How do we respond?

How do we use our life experiences and pain to help others in need? Everyone's story is unique. Here's mine:

My passion and dedication to basketball started when I was a young kid growing up in Orange County, CA. By the time I graduated high school, I was a four-year varsity member of the Mater Dei Boys Basketball team with two CIF and two CA State Championships under my belt. Life was good.

My Junior year I was honored with the CIF Sportsmanship Award, which was a momentous goal for me, but at the same time my mom and my rock, Brigitte, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a chronic illness with no known cure. With this diagnosis, I had to take on a lot of unexpected duties at home and was forced to grow up faster than typical 17-year olds. When it was time to look beyond high school, I turned down smaller Division 1 basketball scholarships to be a preferred walk on at UCLA — a choice also allowed me to stay close to home.

My mom suddenly passed away from complications with multiple sclerosis the summer before my sophomore year at UCLA, it was devastating. I turned to my Christian faith, my family and friends, and channeled my grief into dedication — dedication to my mom’s legacy and all that she taught me. With the love and support of family and friends, I returned for my sophomore year with a newfound purpose in life - to find a cure in her honor.

Through all the highs and lows that I’ve experienced so far, what continues to motivate me every day is my mom, Brigitte. She instilled a mentality that I strive to live by everyday: count your blessings, live by the golden rule and never give up.

Heart of Hope is inspired by my experiences and what I’ve learned, dealing not only with my personal story, but in meeting so many brave people along the way. I vow that anyone affected by ANY debilitating disease, trauma or injustice will always know there is a supportive and loving community for them. No matter what you’re dealing with, there is hope, and Heart of Hope is where you can find it.

Blake Arnet, Founder of Heart of Hope

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