FENNVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) - On her wrist sits a bracelet with a wish -- "Just one more game."
Jocelyn Leonard would give anything to see her son play one more game.
This was supposed to be Wes Leonard's big year.
"My son would have had a great senior year. Great," Jocelyn said.
Wes had college coaches recruiting him in football and basketball. He was a tough-as-nails quarterback with a rifle for an arm. And on the basketball court, he was a handful -- as an all-state performer, Wes led Fennville High School to a perfect 20-0 record.
In his hometown, his legend was growing. But the world didn't get to know him until it was too late.
Wes collapsed and died March 3, just minutes after he hit a game-winning shot in overtime of the Blackhawks' final regular season basketball game against Bridgman.
"In our case, it wasn't a car accident, it wasn't cancer that we couldn't solve. It was something we weren't ready for," said Jocelyn.
Wes' heart had stopped. And with no automated external defibrillator (AED) in the Fennville gym, they weren't able to save his life.
"You kind of shake your head because I'll never coach again without one," said Ryan Klingler, Fennville's basketball coach. "It's something I'll never be able to move past, or move beyond, that we didn't have one that night."
Wes' tragedy, and the Leonards' pain, touched a nerve with people all over the country. If it could happen to him -- a big, strong, athletic kid -- who else could be in danger?
"Because I knew what happened to Wes, I was like, I have to get it done. I had to have that peace of mind out there and know he's 100 percent," said Charlotte Tetzlaff Simpson.
Even though her son, Mason, had already passed a physical and been cleared to play, Simpson took him to Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon for a heart screening.
"I didn't want to go at all," said Mason.
"I was afraid they were going to find something wrong."
The heart screening showed Mason had an abnormal heart rhythm.
"I got sick to my stomach and I got upset," said his mom.
"As soon as we found out, they said I had to stop all activities because they weren't sure what I could do," said Mason. "So I thought instantly -- there goes my senior year."
Fortunately for Mason, there was a cure. He had an outpatient heart procedure this summer. Now he is back in the weight room and back with his teammates. His senior year salvaged.
"Isn't that great? That's great," said Jocelyn.
"It means a lot that I can wake up and hug and kiss my son, and I can watch him on the field," said Simpson." But I don't think there will be a game I ever watch him that I don't think about those kids and those parents that didn't get one more game."
One more game.
Ultimately that is Jocelyn Leonard's mission -- to try and give every kid the one thing her son, Wes, was deprived; the thing Mason received.
"What if he continued to play dizzy? What if that next spell his heart stopped? Hopefully Muskegon would have been ready," said Jocelyn.
Lord willing, they'll never have to find out.
But on the chance it happens again, Jocelyn wants to make sure every school in Michigan is ready, especially Fennville.
Jocelyn's youngest son, Mitchell, will quarterback the Fennville JV team this fall. And she takes comfort in knowing at every sporting event, home or away, they'll have an AED nearby.
"We went from one in the building that wasn't working to nine. And it's not overboard. It's literally -- can you get to it in a minute and get it back in a minute? That's what we figured out we needed. Our district has nine...for saves. If you want to pretend to save people, OK, then have one, because you aren't doing to do it," said Jocelyn.
She says the cost of an AED is $1,400.
The Wes Leonard Heart Team is offering to help any school that needs one get one. The organization has already given out a handful, with funds that have been donated to the foundation.
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