“We got the kind [of cancer] we prayed for, if you can imagine praying for a certain form of cancer.”
For attorney Jon Perry, that form of cancer was acute lymphocytic leukemia, the diagnosis for his two and a half year old son, Trevor. Though no cancer is desirable for anyone (let alone a child), Jon was relieved because Trevor’s leukemia was, indeed, treatable.
While the Perry’s had received the diagnosis they prayed for, another family, just a few rooms away, did not.
During Trevor’s stay in the hospital, Jon befriended another father whose daughter was awaiting a diagnosis. Tragically, the diagnosis was that his friend’s daughter would need to have her leg amputated due to an aggressive bone cancer. Jon anxiously awaited the results of the surgery, but his friend didn’t show up that night. The next time Jon saw him, his friend told him, through teary eyes, that he couldn’t afford to miss another day of work to be by his daughter’s side during her life-changing surgery.
(Photo: Bracelets from a Pennies From Heaven event)
While Jon’s finances allowed him to stay by Trevor’s side through his entire recovery, he could certainly relate to the tears of his friend. Though Trevor would eventually beat his cancer, it was a long and difficult road. Jon could imagine the pain that it would cause for families to be apart from their child’s bedside when their child needed them most. Jon and his wife, Joni, resolved to do something to ensure that families would never be absent from their hospitalized child’s bedside for financial reasons.
Their solution? They started a charity called Pennies From Heaven. They raise money for families who are not financially able to stay in the hospital with their children. Pennies raises these funds through donations as well as events, such as Pennies Pedal, where cyclists can come together for a great cause, Penny Wars in Elementary Schools, where kids compete amongst their classes to see who can raise the most money, or Oktoberfest which is exactly what it sounds like. In their own words, “gifts range from small overnight toiletry bags and brown bag lunches to paying lost wages, utility bills, and even mortgage payments.”
Needy families are identified by social workers and a well-coordinated system grants gifts expeditiously for immediate help.
(Photo: Local schools help raise money for Pennies From Heaven)
To date, Pennies From Heaven has raised nearly $3 million for over 250,000 families in need.
It seems only fitting that Jon’s law firm, Rosen, Louik & Perry, bill themselves as the Caring Lawyers. Certainly to those 250,000 families, Jon is more than deserving of that title.
To hear Jon tell the story of Pennies From Heaven, check out this video: