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Downey Community Walks, Runs To Heal Hearts

 By Tammye McDuff


 September 2010, Jamari Marqui Mintz, a 13 year old student in Downey’s Griffiths Middle School, was diagnosed with Colon Geo Carcinoma. The doctors told the family he would not survive the year. Jamari passed away Christmas Day of that same year. 

 Kim Jones, CEO and Founder of Always a Mom Foundation, and Mother of Jamari told HMG “When these things first happen, when your child is diagnosed with a terminal illness or pass from an unexpected death, you don’t know how to cope. Friends and relatives may give support during the initial time and transition, but in the end, when it is all said and done, everybody goes their own way and back to their own normal life.”  Jones continues “Unfortunately, the bereaved Mom doesn’t know what ‘normal’ is like anymore. You have to find a new ‘normal’.” When Jones son passed away, the city of Downey stepped up and offered remarkable support, “The city of Downey was just awesome. When my son was first diagnosed, and when he passed away the DUSD was just priceless, the way they helped our family. The love and support from his teachers, his counselors and the district was just amazing.” Jones wanted and needed to be able to give back, so she created Always a Mom Foundation.


The goal of Always a Mom Foundation, is to surround Mothers with people that have been through a death, and can reach out and relate to this particular grief, “…giving Mothers that push to go on with life, because sometimes you don’t want to “ relays Jones.  


Always a Mom Foundation is a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) organization supporting bereaved Mothers, one Mom at time. Their mission is to provide love, support, encouragement, resources, smiles and moments of peace. The organization offers group counseling sessions as well as one-on-one conversations. In addition to this, they also provide complimentary House Cleaning; Facials; Manicures and Pedicures; Massages

Unexpected Flower Deliveries; Recognition of the child’s birthday and transition date; while also giving special recognition on Mother’s Day and financial support, if needed.

Help 2 Heal a Heart 2k Run/Walk is an annual fundraiser, which was held Saturday, February 15th at Griffiths Middle School. The first run walk was held in 2013 with 104 participants and this year, there were over 200 participants from three years old to senior citizens.  The Run/Walk had complete participation from the coaches of both high school and junior high track teams; elementary schools and the city council . This year’s fundraiser was sponsored by Aztlan Athletics; Molina Health Plan and PIH Healthcare. 

Currently Always a Mom offers support to 24 Mothers and is hoping to increase this number.  Jones comments “When you turn on the news you see so many children that have been lost, in various ways, it never really hit home until I lost my son. My goal for the foundation is to one day; reach out to each and every bereaved Mom that I see.”


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