Perry Jones, General Manager of Illusive Comics and Games and Isle of Gamers, Santa Clara, went to the doctor at the end of June for what he thought might be a kidney stone. On July 18, he was in the hospital having his kidney removed because a seven-centimeter (about 2.7-inch) tumor, confirmed as malignant, was attached.
“I was floored. And knowing that I was going to be out from work for weeks was very scary to me, wondering how I was going to make it through,” said Jones.
The first thing Anna Warren Cebrian, his boss, did when she found out about Jones’s imminent kidney surgery was to set up a GoFundMe account for him to raise money to cover his medical co-pays and lost wages for his weeks of post-surgery recuperation.
“This is Silicon Valley and few people here have the savings for this kind of emergency,” posted Cebrian on the GoFundMe page. Cebrian is the founder and CEO of Illusive Comics and Games and Isle of Gamers, where tip jars in place for the month are also being donated to Jones.
The GoFundMe goal of $4,000 was reached within a day of launching the campaign for Jones. And in 12 days, the goal was almost doubled. Over 60 people had contributed $7,615, with individual donations ranging from $10 to $2,500.
“I was flabbergasted that it took less than 24 hours to meet the mark. Almost every single contributor was a customer,” said Jones.
Many of the customers also included messages of comfort and support to Jones.
“I was floored. I felt overwhelming support,” said Jones.
But best of all was the good news for Jones that the tumor, which had grown to within three centimeters of a major vein, was removed in time to prevent the cancer from spreading via the vein. Although Jones will be monitored closely, he needs no further treatment and will return to work mid-August.
“It is an incredible feeling to watch a community come together to donate to a cause or person that is beloved. It’s awe-inspiring, humbling and also a wonderful ego-boost (how often do we get those?),” said Cebrian.
Jones was surprised and uplifted at a vulnerable time, in his hour of need, by the well wishes and generosity of customers and co-workers at Illusive Comics and Games and Isle of Gamers.
“I don’t think I could ever thank people enough. I’m absolutely grateful to these people,” said Jones, adding that the experience makes him have a more supportive ear for others in need.