It was July 9, 2006, a day that altered the lives of an entire family, both immediate and extended. Seven members of the Gardiner family were traveling south on the Bronx River Parkway that afternoon. The stretch of road that approaches the exit leading to the Cross Bronx Expressway was infamous for its low barriers.

There had been several fatal auto accidents on both the north side and the south side of the Bronx River on that expanse in the years preceding that Sunday afternoon, but none as devastating as the one involving the Gardiners. Six members were killed that day, with only one survivor. The fatalities included Derrick Gardiner, a well known New York basketball figure.

At Rucker Park, the Gun Hill Tournament and the many other venues where Gardiner showcased his skills, he was warmly received and reciprocated the love. Gardiner was the nation’s leading junior college scorer at Bronx Community College in the mid-1980s, while his twin brother Dexter was the country’s top scorer at SUNY-Canton for the division in which the school was a member.

Born out of the horrific accident was the formation of The Gardiner Foundation, which since its beginnings in August of 2006 has served hundreds of children and adults in the Gardiners’ home borough of the Bronx and beyond. This weekend at St. James Park on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, the foundation will host the 11th Annual Gardiner Memorial Basketball Tournament in honor of those who perished in the accident.

“We want to show people a spirit of kindness, faith and hope,” Dexter Gardiner said several weeks ago in discussing the evolution of the foundation. He continued, “This is what my brother and all of my family members would want us to do to carry on their legacy and the legacy they hoped to establish.”

The Gardiner Foundation provides college scholarships to high school students, holds Thanksgiving turkey giveaways for underprivileged families and organizes children’s toy drives during the Christmas season.