Few of us have ever had to see our home devastated by a natural disaster. If you grew up in Arizona, rarely would you ever have crossed paths with a deadly storm. And even if you have had the misfortune to come in contact with something like a hurricane, few in the recent past have been as deadly as Hurricane Dorian.
So as Deandre Ayton gets ready for the season, he is seeing unfathomable devastation in the islands where he grew up.
As of now, the death toll in the Bahamas is 50. It is expected to continue to rise. As other pro athletes such as Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun and Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings readied charity drives, Ayton prepared his own.
On Monday, Ayton pledged $100,000 to relief efforts in the Bahamas and on Tuesday, he led a donation drive at a local Fry’s Food Store to collect goods that will help survivors.
According to Gina Mizell of The Athletic, Ayton was joined by teammates Cam Johnson, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and members of the Suns’ front office. Together, they sorted goods brought in by local fans.
Ayton’s family helped as well, coming together to help their relatives in need.
“That’s the worst one I’ve ever seen,” Ayton, who told Mizell he experienced multiple smaller storms as a child, said. “I’m just trying my best to do stuff like this (donation drive), to just take my mind off it and keep it positive.”
You can go to Suns.com/Relief to donate money to Dorian relief campaigns and help support Ayton’s home if you missed out on the drive Tuesday. Any little bit counts, as local officials continue to sort through the wreckage and the death toll rises.