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FirstBank, Phoenix Suns and Cameron Johnson Team Up to Support 9-Year-Old Cancer Patient
By Erica Fetherston - Monday Jul 05, 2021
FirstBank, one of the nation’s largest privately held banks with a focus on “banking for good,” recently teamed up with the Phoenix Suns to bring happiness to a Gilbert family. Gilbert branch employees nominated a mother-of-three, Jessica Hunter, to receive a surprise from FirstBank and the Suns. Hunter’s 9-year-old son, an energetic basketball fan, Tayden, has been battling cancer and underwent three surgeries to remove it from his abdomen.

Hunter was invited to visit the FirstBank branch where she was greeted with a surprise from FirstBank and the Phoenix Suns, including a personalized video from Suns’ forward Cameron Johnson.

“Jessica, we know how much you do for your family, and Tayden, we know you’ve gone through a lot these past few years. You’re a brave little man. So, we decided to get together and do something extra special for you,” Cameron Johnson said in the video message.

The gift package included a basketball signed by Cameron Johnson and a Suns jersey signed by Devin Booker. FirstBank also supplied a $1,000 grocery store voucher for food and prescriptions, $200 towards meal delivery services, and a $2,000 check for medical expenses. Tayden’s favorite sport is basketball, which he is unable to play due to his recovery, so FirstBank also included an Xbox and basketball video game for Tayden to play at home.

“It was hard to fight back the tears when seeing Jessica’s reaction. To say we’re happy we could provide some relief to her family is an understatement; we’re thrilled,” said Natalie Plante, employee at FirstBank’s Gilbert location. “It’s humbling to work for an organization that cares so deeply about its customers, and if there’s one customer you want to make a positive imprint on, it’s Jessica. It’s hard to fathom what she’s going through, but we know she’s doing everything in her power to give Tayden the medical care and love he deserves. Hopefully this surprise put a smile on his face as much as it did hers.”
“Every day we hear amazing stories of our customers who selflessly go the extra mile for their families,” said Joel Johnson, East Valley Market President at FirstBank. “Jessica and Tayden’s story of persevering through these challenges is truly inspiring, and this is the least we could do to help ease their burdens. As the official bank of the Phoenix Suns, we are proud to partner with them to show this deserving family some support.”

In 2019, FirstBank announced a strategic partnership to become the official bank of the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury. The Phoenix Suns will continue their 2021 playoff run in the NBA Western Conference Finals later this month.

This past March, FirstBank and the Suns teamed up to promote Arizona Gives Day by surprising dozens of families across Phoenix by paying for their groceries. FirstBank just asked lucky recipients to consider “giving it forward” – even if it’s just $5 – to their favorite AZ Gives Day charity, which ended up raising over $7.1 million for Arizona nonprofits. FirstBank has been hosting “give it forward” events for the past several years in support of Arizona Gives Day. Last year, Suns forward Mikal Bridges helped the bank cover over $11,000 in vet bills from VCA Elliot Park Animal Hospital in Temple.