Sports equipment drive started by theater shooting victim Jessica Ghawi grows

DENVER — Jessica Ghawi was one of the 12 people killed at the Century 16 Theaters in Aurora two years ago. Before her death, Jessica sought to organize a sports equipment drive to help children in need. She believed every child should have the chance to play sports because it can help get them through tough times in life.

Ghawi decided to begin collecting gear after the Waldo Canyon fire in 2012.

“She said these fires are really the people that have lost everything. This really bothers me,” Jessica’s mother, Sandy Phillips recalls her daughter saying. “She knew that their basic needs would be taken care of, but for the children to have their sports equipment gone, that was really important to her.”

Jessica never got to live out that dream. Her mother along with A Precious Child and Kroenke Sports Charities are now doing it in her place.

“To know that this is going on and continuing that desire and that dream means a lot to us,” Phillips says.

Phillips says Jessica would be jealous she was missing out, because some of her favorite Denver sports heroes have also joined her cause.

“It’s not the cheapest thing in the world and not everybody is privileged enough to get the chance to play hockey or football or whatever,” says former Colorado Avalanche player Joe Sakic.

Denver Nuggets star Gary Harris says Jessica’s passion hits close to home. “It’s priceless because I was a kid before in the same position and just to be able to make them happy, that’s what matters,” Harris says.

Phillips says every time a donation pours in or she gets a thank you note from a child in need, it helps her heal a little more.

“Knowing that Jessie started that and to see it continue on means everything,” she says.

In the last three years, the drive has collected more than 50,000 pieces of sports gear. If you would like to find out more about donations you can visit the website for A Precious Child.