In December, the Aptos Times published a story on Andrew Perez, a 16-year-old cancer patient that raised $5000 for Jacob’s Heart. One month later, this young cancer survivor has become a philanthropist.
The story of how Andrew Perez used his 4-H skills to raise $5,000 for Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services — the organization that gave him strength during his cancer fight — created a groundswell of support with the community, raising another $50,000 in less than five weeks as part of Andrew’s campaign.
The teen was so moved by the response to his fundraising challenge that he plans to raise another $5,000 this year to jump-start a second donation drive.
Andrew was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an aggressive and often painful bone cancer, in April 2017. His treatment required multiple trips each week to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, a 90-minute drive from his home, for eight months.
Jacob’s Heart supported Andrew and his family with practical items, such as gas cards and groceries. They provided social and emotional support as well, from the peer group of teenagers undergoing cancer treatment that Andrew joined, to the help of a counselor, who met Andrew privately in his home.
In gratitude for the support he received, Andrew used his skills from being in 4-H for the past five years to raise money for the organization he had grown to love. He donated the proceeds from selling his livestock at several county fairs and challenged the community to turn his $5,000 gift into $50,000 in less than two months.
As December waned, it looked like Andrew’s campaign would only make about half its goal. In the final hours of New Year’s Eve, Michael Zwerling of KSCO-AM radio, the station where Andrew had been a talk show guest, made up the difference.
“What Andrew did was fantastic,” said Zwerling. “That’s a lot of money for a young guy to donate, and my hat’s off to him.”
Fairs that Andrew will attend this year will go towards his second $5,000 gift to Jacob’s Heart, and he hopes the community will once again dig deep and turn one teen philanthropist’s generosity into a community movement to support children battling cancer.
A heartfelt thank you to all who matched Andrew’s initial donation, those who grew the total to over $26,000 and to Michael Zwerling for making Andrew’s dream come true.
To contribution to this special fundraiser visit jacobsheart.org or call (831) 724-9100.