How Joshua Perry Is Using His Ohio State Platform In the Most Simple, Meaningful Way

By Patrick Maks on June 2, 2014 at 1:00p

Courtesy of Jeremy Chambers

71 Comments

Joshua Perry took out his iPhone and sent a handful of his closest teammates a group text. He asked them to drop everything for a little kid they’ve never met.

“I just need 30 seconds,” the Ohio State junior linebacker said. “Whatever you’re doing; make me a video clip.”  

That’s it. That’s all. Thirty seconds for a leukemia-stricken boy 1,000 miles away. Thirty seconds for a family yearning to make another sobering trip to the hospital a little less sterile.

Thirty seconds to help a stomach ache pang less. Thirty seconds to throw together a grainy cell phone video.

Thirty seconds to briefly make something as wicked as cancer a little less devastating.

“He just wants to hear from some Buckeyes and it’ll make his day,” Perry said. “We got a lot of good guys and they dropped what they were doing immediately in order to make a message.”

Thirty seconds for the smallest and simplest of tokens.

But it’s hard to measure how much it meant.


Fourteen hours away in an emergency room in Orlando, a flood of videos started pouring into Jeremy Chambers’ phone.

One by one, he sent them to his 4-year-old son Joshua — a beaming, vibrant and sick little boy — who, thanks to his father’s Perrysburg, Ohio, roots, has fallen in love with Ohio State.

“I would forward them from my phone to Joshua’s iPad and he’d get a message and it would pop and he’d say 'It’s another Buckeye!’” Chambers said.

“The way we did it by sending them over to his iPad one at a time he was like ‘Oh another one and another one!’"

The first snippet was from Perry, the orchestrator of the deed: “Get well, be brave. We’re pulling for you man.”

Then there was one from sophomore linebacker Darron Lee: “Be brave and be strong, man. You’re gonna get through it, man. You’re gonna keep fighting.”

Next was Raekwon McMillan, a freshman linebacker and one of the nation’s finest recruits: "Get well, Joshua. Be brave." 

After that was a message from a car filled with senior linebacker Curtis Grant, junior linebacker Devan Bogard and senior cornerback Doran Grant.

"We hope you get better, man. Be brave...for the Buckeyes," Curtis Grant said in a bellowing, baritone voice.

Finally there was a message from Craig Fada, a walk-on junior linebacker:

“Everything’s gonna be all right bud."

Because it has to be, right? 


Joshua Chambers is an adorable, vivacious and buoyant embodiment of life.

His favorite movie is “Despicable Me.” He loves school. He loves reading. He loves the Buckeyes and, since it’s his mother’s favorite team, he loves the Florida Gators too.  

His smile is contagious and his laughter is infectious. 

He's a "mini adult," his mom, Mina Chambers, said. 

“He loves to perform for people, he loves to tell jokes to people like to make them laugh. He loves to be the life of the party, he loves to be the attention of everything," she said. 

"If you look through his pictures, very rarely is he not smiling.”

“He was like the healthiest child. He’s so full of life. Always smiling. If you look through his pictures, very rarely is he not smiling.” 

It applies to snapshots before and after Feb. 28, 2013 — the day Joshua was was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“As soon as I heard that it was like shock” Mina said. “It was like I wasn’t there but I was listening and the doctor was talking to me and I was talking back, but it was a fog.

"Then it hits you the next morning where he went in for his biopsy. We broke down.”   

Because no kid should have to go through something as destructive and appalling as cancer.

“It’s probably the worst thing you could have a child experience,” Mina said.

“You don’t want to see a child hurt, you don’t want to see them crying … and you’re supposed to be protecting him and you’re pleading to god like, ‘Why not me god? Why him?’”

After going through a brutal, but successful, year of chemotherapy, Joshua is beating cancer, but not yet victorious.

The road ahead is still long and winding. With the Chambers, though, the light shining at the end of it all remains impeccably bright. With a kid like Joshua, how could it not? 


It was earlier this spring when Georgette Perry approached her son about the Chambers and little Joshua after work one day at Walnut Creek Elementary school in Galena, Ohio.

“One of the teachers in the building told her about Joshua and she said, ‘Hey they’re big Buckeye fans,” Joshua Perry said.

On a subsequent visit to the elementary school, the teacher — a childhood friend of Jeremy Chambers and supporter of the cause named Jana Covert — told him little Joshua's story and gave him a helping of wristbands that read “Joshua 1:9.”

The Biblical verse reads:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

For the Chambers, it’s more than a piece of scripture; it’s a pillar to lean on each and every day on this tumultuous journey.

“When he was first going to get his very first bone marrow biopsy, I was just like, ‘Be brave. Be brave buddy,” Mina said. “We thumbs up’d each other and then later on we found the verse in the Bible which pretty much sums up the whole be brave, be courageous thing.”

It’s a passage that serves as a rallying cry for the thousands who have liked little Joshua’s Facebook page, too. 

“That was his thing: tell him to be brave every time he goes for a procedure when he has to be put to sleep or chemo,” Mina said. “It’s just like, ‘All right buddy, just be brave.’”


In the coming days and weeks after strapping his own bracelet on, Perry started passing them out to his Ohio State teammates. He did research. He reached out to the Chambers, specifically Jeremy.

In any capacity, he wanted to help. It’s nearly an obligation.

“It’s one of those things where some of the guys who aren’t from Columbus don’t necessarily understand how just being a Buckeye and the small interactions you make with people can actually make their day when they’re going through something tough,” Perry, a Lewis Center native and Olentangy High School graduate, said.

“If somebody says, ‘Hey, there’s somebody who wants to meet you, there’s somebody who wants to see you. They’re going through a rough time’ and all I need to do is just be a person they can talk to, if they want to see my face, if they want me to wear their wristband and tell their story and get to know them a little bit, it’s the least I can do.”

Perry is what happens when someone with such a powerful and transcendent platform becomes fully cognizant of it. It's a position limited to neither football nor sports, but, playing linebacker for Ohio State provides Perry a forum to touch scores of people whether it's an autograph, a letter or a smile. 

"When you’re a Buckeye, you have almost an obligation to Columbus and to Buckeye Nation."

“It just goes back to being from around the area and knowing a lot about the Buckeyes. In Ohio, we’re a bigger brand than professional teams at times,” he said. “When you’re a Buckeye, you have almost an obligation to Columbus and to Buckeye Nation to be a stand-up citizen, a good person and to represent Ohio State well.”

It’s the same feeling of duty that impels his bond with the Chambers.

“He is just such an incredible person. You hear so many negative stories coming out of college sports about athletes and he’s just not that,” Jeremy said. “He’s a genuine, legit guy.”

So when little Joshua needed to go to the hospital because of an upset stomach and fever a little less than two weeks ago, Perry breathed life into those words by helping orchestrate a flurry of video messages for a sick kid in the hospital who he's never met. 

"But I talk to his dad all the time and he’ll send me pictures and videos and for a kid who’s going through so much in his life, he always has a smile on his face it seems like," Perry said.

"He’ll send me a video of him playing in the backyard in the sprinklers, he’ll be wearing a Superman shirt, an Ohio State shirt or something and every time I see him he’s got a smile on his face."

How could you not smile, too?  

“It reflects as much to who Joshua Perry is an individual and as an athlete as it does on Joshua Chambers and his personality and his ability to inspire people,” Jeremy said.

Which is usually how these types of things seem to work. They’re reciprocal.

Yes, snippets of Perry and a sampling of other Ohio State players wishing him well might as well mean the world to a 4-year-old kid fighting a grave battle so many lose each year.

But Joshua is having a profound effect on Perry and the Buckeyes too.

“If I was going through something like that at such a young age,” Perry said, “I really don’t know how I’d be able to deal with it the way that he was and it’s literally amazing to see that.”

A platform gave Joshua Perry power. A sickness — for all its wretchedness — gave Joshua Chambers a platform. 

“We get messages from adult cancer patients saying, ‘Well, if Joshua can go through chemo then I’m gonna go through chemo without complaining.’ We have people that are like, ‘I wanted to give up on chemo but I see Joshua keep going so I’m going to be brave too and keep going,’” Mina said.

“He is touching people’s lives and he’s four. It’s just amazing. I think it’s the purity of a child that can touch an adult human’s heart.”

Consider Perry and Ohio State among the many within Joshua's reach. 

“You watch him, he inspires you. He gives you the courage, he’ll give you hope. Like to him, the pain hurts and the nausea sucks and he goes through it but then it’s over. He throws up, it’s done," Mina said. 

“The sick feeling is gone. Let’s go play.” 


Author’s note: Jeremy and Mina Chambers have started the Be Brave Foundation to provide financial assistance to families with a child battling cancer. You can check out their website here or follow it on Twitter here.

71 Comments

Comments

BuddhaBuck's picture

Is it just me or did it just get really dusty in here?

Don't text while driving.

+37 HS
Hovenaut's picture

My son turns four this Sunday.

You better believe it's really dusty in here.

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

+27 HS
Barnsey69's picture

It's a legitimate sand storm here...incredible.

I am a modern-art masterpiece.

+13 HS
DeepSouthBuckeye's picture

That just made me, a grown man, cry at my desk at work.

And gave me chill bumps. Not just the normal ones on your arm. No, it gave me the big ones, the ones you can feel on the top of your head.

Loving all things Buckeye from SEC country in Alabama.
"How firm thy friendship....O-HI-O"

+5 HS
Firmthyfriendship's picture

Hove, my son turns 4 on Monday! I cannot imagine if he had to go through this. There are times my son smiles at me and says "I love you" and I just think, despite my flaws and what a dip-shit I am, my kid loves me, looks up to me. Kids that age have an amazing way of influencing us as much as we can influence them. I do not envy the mental/emotional struggle his mom and dad must be going through. 

My boy is a huge Buckeyes fan too and he sleeps next to a small stuffed Brutus every night, and he'll be praying with me for little Joshua and family every night before bed!

+2 HS
thatlillefty's picture

Great article, Patrick. Glad to have you on the site.

+7 HS
BrooklynBuckeye's picture

Absolutely. Really great stuff, Patrick. I look forward to reading more of your stuff in the future.

BierStube's picture

Wishing nothing but the best for Joshua Chambers.  Joshua Perry .. my new favorite Buckeye!

Who keeps cutting onions!!!

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

+4 HS
BroJim's picture

Heart touching story.

I season my simple food with hunger

+1 HS
BGBOY's picture

I must of gotten something in my eye. Great article indeed.

You can tune a piano but you can't tuna fish.

+2 HS
Earle's picture

Times like these I wish we could still upvote forum topics.

SOCK PUPPETS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!!!

+17 HS
ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

Great to see our players care enough to send a hopeful message - not sure I condone video recording while driving though Curtis!

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

+4 HS
osu07asu10's picture

That's awesome. Great to see young guys and old guys all chipping in. Great leader in JP!

Squirrel, Fada still a buckeye?!?!?!

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

+2 HS
OSUNeedles's picture

I worked as nurse in the Hematology/Oncology department at Children's Hospital in Columbus. I always enjoyed seeing the athletes come through and visit the kids. The happiness it brought to the kids was amazing, but the amazement on the face of the athletes was even better. Those were some of the toughest, most resilient kids I have ever met. You could see the athletes appreciate things a little more after they had sat next to a bald 6 year old who had tubes coming out of their chest, but yet was still laughing and thrilled to meet anyone wearing Scarlet & Grey. There were some who came on their own time and developed close relationships with some of the kids (some who didn't make it through their treatments). It was humbling watching these young men deal with something like that... They were watching young boys fight bravely, like men. It was very humbling and life in perspective. Thank you for the story and reminding me of some great boys and girls that I knew.

+11 HS
vwhiegs57's picture

I'm always proud to be a Buckeye, but it's things like this that take that pride to another level! knowing that we have a GREAT football team, but even GREATER people with-in that team!! This is just Awesome!! BuckeyeNation!

+3 HS
stittracer99's picture

Helluva read Patrick, great job. And great job by the Bucks for stepping up and making a difference.

+1 HS
Ethos's picture

This is great, this is what I like to read in the off season! Go Bucks! Get Better soon Joshua!

"What do you need water for, Sunshine?!" - Coach Coombs, if you don't love this man, you have no soul.

+2 HS
tussey's picture

Such a powerful and moving story.  Thanks for sharing!

+1 HS
Barnsey69's picture

I just cried at work. 

Young men like Joshua Perry and Adriene Payne give me renewed hope for our younger generations. Young Joshua's story gives me pause as a parent, and as a human being. Cancer never makes any sense, but it is beyond horrific when it affects children. I expect to see Joshua as a guest of the university at the National Championship game in January. Get better, and continue to be brave!

 

I am a modern-art masterpiece.

+5 HS
otrain2416's picture

This is exactly why I love the Buckeyes. 

+3 HS
osubuck57's picture

Great story, but more importantly, hope "little" Joshua gets better soon!!

SCOTTC.

+2 HS
20sider's picture

Perry is what happens when someone with such a powerful and transcendent platform becomes fully cognizant of it. It's a position limited to neither football nor sports...

This type of compassion and hope is what all Buckeyes should strive for. All Buckeyes, not just student-athletes, within our communities and the world at large should strive to make it a better place, each in our own way.

GO BUCKS!

+2 HS
WezBuck28's picture

Had to stop and take a moment there..what josh is doing for this young man is amazing! Hats off to you, and your fellow teammates who took the time to do this for this kid!!

+1 HS
GuidedByVoices's picture

Thank for the story Patrick. Joshua Perry is the real deal. Great student, and he's been volunteering for Central Ohio causes/initiatives since he was in high school, and probably before. The week he accepted his tOSU offer, he was helping 1st-6th graders (2 of them mine) as a Camp Invention counselor! Young man is tackling life with perfect Spielman form.

+6 HS
avail31678's picture

Great story.  Go Buckeyes.  And Go Joshua!

+2 HS
gumtape's picture

Oh man, I have to go into my account and change my favorite Buckeye.

just another psycho, irrational, delusional Ohio St fan

+1 HS
MissinJT's picture

Joshua Perry is what I wish ALL young people in his privileged position should be....just imagine what they could do for our society. Well done, sir...I tip my hat. And yes, my allergies seem to be acting up badly this afternoon! Go Bucks

+4 HS
Klytus21's picture

Just another reason to be a proud Buckeye!

And yes, please don't crash while doing a good deed for others.

NJBuck

+2 HS
Rogabone's picture

Best thing I've read all day.

"Who is that madman?" the new arrival asked St. Peter.

"That's God," St. Peter replied. "But he thinks he's Woody Hayes."

+3 HS
stevebelliseeya's picture

Alright who's cutting onions? Cut it out.

"We are eternal. All this pain is an illusion." - Tool

+2 HS
Burnsy's picture

If you read this story Joshua, know that you've brought a lot of strong men to tears by your courage and attitude. Get well buddy! Hope to see you in the shoe someday. 

+4 HS
Dayton Buckeye's picture

I was having a bad day at work and this puts things into perspective.  This kid is fighting for his life and I was feeling sorry for my self about losing an account. Feeling embarrassed and ashamed for moping.  What a great thing these players are doing, and I wish nothing but the best for this young man.

+4 HS
oh_dad55's picture

I needed this thread after suffering through the Game of Thrones arguments.  This is what real life is about, and the kind of battle we should be fighting.

 

Oh_Dad

+5 HS
ArizonaBuckeye's picture

I'm not much of an emotional being, but this one got me choked up for sure. Be brave Joshua, and keep fighting!

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." -Woody Hayes-

+2 HS
IH8UOFM's picture

It seems like after every 11W article, I have a new favorite player. Hell, I'm just gonna say all of them are my favorites. These young men are amazing and using their platform to change lives. Having a child this age, I know how important the smallest things are to them. Well done.

+2 HS
CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Very cool!  Sure makes ya proud to be a Buckeye.  Get well Joshua!

We're pullin for ya!

Go Bucks!

+2 HS
SgtMdx's picture

I have a new favorite Buckeye. My wife is going through chemo now and it's absolutely horrible. Can't imagine watching my son have to deal with it and I can't imagine what Josh Perry's support has done for the family. Class act.

The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle.
Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing, U.S. Army
 

+7 HS
blazers34's picture

Prayers for you and your wife. Tough times indeed

+5 HS
cajunbuckeye's picture

If that story doesn't choke ya up, check your pulse, you've passed on. A round of applause for Joshua Perry and a round of prayers for Joshua Chambers. Well played Buckeyes...well played,indeed.
 

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

+4 HS
BUCKSOMIES's picture

Great read Patrick.  Joshua Perry is a great example as to why we are, THE Ohio State University.  Joshua Chambers is one of the bravest Buckeyes of all.  The good Lord never gives us any more than we can handle, and young Joshua seems to be handling things very well.

+1 HS
IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

Definitely dusty in here. I have 5 nephews under the age of 9 myself. Beautiful stuff guys :)

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

+2 HS
BeijingBucks's picture

there's a lot of love in this room... and in our LB corps

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

+2 HS
ohiowhitesnake's picture

Pay it forward Mr. Perry! Get well little Joshua, we are all pulling for you.

+2 HS
Johnny_Buck71's picture

I love these stories, and personally find them at least as compelling if not more compelling than the negatives. These atheletes all across the country really do a lot of good, paying forward, and grow personally from the experience. Wouldnt it be cool if the national media actually ran a story tabulating the positive impacts from these types of efforts? Hope the little guy continues to get better. Good job Buckeyes. 

A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore. - Yogi Berra

+2 HS
Jelligrim's picture

Someone cutting onions in my house.  Praying for the little man!

+3 HS
toad1204's picture

 

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

+11 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

This also tells us that Coach and staff see and hear what we say on here.  

Maybe it'll stay in the back of our minds when we comment.

Go Bucks!

+3 HS
Poison nuts's picture

I'm not ashamed to admit that this was truly touching & inspiring to read. It's not dusty at my house...I'm just crying.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

+6 HS
Groveport Heisman's picture

OSUasu made a good thread about how some of us should dress up in our favorite tOSU gear and make a quick video just giving a shout out for the young man. We might not be celebrities but it would be a kind thing to do for a young Buckeye fighting against this Evil. Who knows maybe one our super internet savy fans can make it look cool and maybe it could make a difference.

Mark my words..I don't need acceptance. I'm catching interceptions on you innocent pedestrians.

+1 HS
mobboss1984's picture

Get well kid...Me and my house are pulling for you. I just want to go home and hug my son. Great Story, and Joshua Perry is the man!

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
Bruce Lee
 

+2 HS
ULuvLucy's picture

I think I have something in my contacts... *blinks away tears*

BrutusBlock O

+2 HS
Unky Buck's picture

I've been spending the morning catching up on a lot of the stuff I missed while out in Sin City and this is one of the best, most heartfelt stories I've read in awhile. It's great to see young men like Perry and Adreian Payne step up when needed most. These are the types of role models we need to hear more about within the sports world.

...

+1 HS
Oyster's picture

Feeling guilty I see.

Unky Buck's picture

Oh, no guilt. I was good on my trip, lol. Somehow managed to come out ahead on the gambling, too. So I'm good to go!

...

Oyster's picture

No guilt?  What, are you planning on running for Pope?

Unky Buck's picture

Hmmmm...maybe.

...

Oyster's picture

Hopefully it was Bingo that you were playing then...

Oyster's picture

I think you might be going to hell.

Unky Buck's picture

Probably now...

...

Oyster's picture

At a minimum, your chance for the Papacy is probably gone.

Horvath22's picture

Great job, Patrick. Hope to hear more from you in the future.

Great job, little man, Joshua. Great job, Joshua Perry.

+1 HS
WC Buckeye's picture

Is there anyone but me who sees that the obvious next move is for Joshua Perry to wear the jersey #19? Make it happen, Buckeyes.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

SoCalBuck26's picture

I love these kind of stories, great start to the morning.  I'm a student nurse and did my preceptor at CHLA on the Hem/Onc floor and seeing this just brings so much joy.  As far as ALL goes, it has a high success for remission, you're in my prayers!!!

+1 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

I'm proud to be a buckeye. Be brave! Your Buckeye - Perry has your back.

Buckeye in Texas

+1 HS
MAVBuck's picture

Im sure there are universities and players all around the country that do this type of stuff but this is Ohio State at its best. This is what Woody instilled decades ago and has been carried through to today's generation. Paying it forward every chance you get. This is OHIO!

+1 HS
Buck Commander's picture

We all know there is more to life than football and this goes to show just how classy our Buckeye Guys truly are....It is times like this that make me so proud to be a Buckeye and to be a fan of the classiest Football Players in College Football ....THE OHIO STATE BUCKEYES!!!!!!

Every time I set my DVR to record Biggest Loser......It always records Wolverine Football Games!

+1 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

Not sure how to get this to his family, but at OSU James Cancer Center, there is a Dr. John Byrd who specializes in cutting edge treatments for Leukemia. Please pass this info on to them if possible.  

Go Bucks!