Even small gifts change lives

Pay It Forward
July 30, 2018

Legacy of Little Boy with Huge Heart Brings Joy to Others

James “Jessy” Haberman was born with a rare genetic syndrome. In his 8 years, he had 15 surgeries and 2 infusions. Still, despite his young age and his own hardships, he found a way to make life a little better for others.

James “Jessy” Haberman with toys
James “Jessy” Haberman on beach
James “Jessy” Haberman

“As a family, we truly love helping others. We went through many different hospital stays with Jessy, and we are so thankful that he came up with a way to pay it forward.” – Heather Haberman, Jessy’s mom.

Bell Employees

Brad Bakken, Bell Investments Wealth Advisor

Wahpeton

Alesha Greseth, Teller Supervisor

Fargo

Recipient

Jessy’s Toy Box

The Need

Jessy’s Toy Box is a nonprofit organization that collects toys, gift cards and other items that help kids who are hospitalized for surgery or infusions. The organization also buys movie tickets and zoo passes for families to be able to do something fun when they have to travel for treatments. Jessy and his parents started the nonprofit in 2015 after nurses gave Jessy a Power Rangers toy to help him through one of his treatments.

“Seeing his smile on his face for a moment meant the world to us,” says Heather Haberman, Jessy’s mom. “Our goal is to distribute toys to hospitals and infusion centers all over the United States.”

Jessy died in February following his second open heart surgery. Before his surgery, he had asked his parents if he could still do Jessy’s Toy Box if his heart got better.

“We made a promise to him, to keep his dream of every hospital having a gift given to them from a Jessy’s Toy Box, and that is what we plan on accomplishing,” Heather comments. “Jessy was an amazing child. He always stayed positive throughout his treatments; tears were shed sometimes, and that is why this organization stays so close to our hearts. It makes our days a little easier. Knowing that we can help a family to not have those tears, for a moment, is worth it. Continuing this helps us stay close to Jessy.”

The Impact

After learning about Jessy’s Toy Box on the news, Alesha decided to donate some of her Pay It Forward funds to the organization. She also found out Jessy’s uncle is her son’s gym teacher.

“I was touched that this little boy had such a giving heart and thought of others,” Alesha comments. “I knew that Jessy had lost his battle, so I felt that the first year he was gone, the toy box needed to be full.”

Alesha enlisted her kids’ help to shop for toys for Jessy’s Toy Box. They also bought some movie tickets to donate.

“My favorite thing about the Pay It Forward program, is that I can show my kids how it feels to give back,” Alesha notes.

Brad learned about the organization from co-worker Amy Cookman, who is friends with Heather.

“When Amy told me about Jessy’s Toy Box, I was so impressed that a young boy would be so selfless while going through his own health battles,” Brad remarks. “He was so focused on bringing joy to other children who were in the hospital without wanting anything in return. He had a huge heart for such a little boy. How can you not support that?”

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