ARLINGTON, Texas (Christian Examiner) -- Ohio State junior linebacker Joshua Perry has a heart for the underdog. The Columbus, Ohio, native is heavily involved in his community, promoting what he calls "Buckeye Culture."
As part of his recent outreach involvement, Perry and his teammates have taken up the cause of Joshua Chambers, a young, avid Buckeye fan from Florida with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Perry and several other athletes record video messages of encouragement for the fan, whose father plays them before each chemotherapy treatment.
Joshua Perry arrived at the university without ever attending church -- 'not a day.' And yet, 'He responded immediately to the grace of God in Bible study.'
Wearing a "Keep Calm and Be Brave" t-shirt, emblazoned with Joshua 1:9, Perry and his teammates in September took whipped-cream pies to the face to promote "whipping cancer."
Joshua 1:9 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."
Perry is also involved in fundraising efforts and projects for children's charities. In an Ohio State game day profile, Perry said he was "working with the team to raise money to send electronics to children that may need a little pick-me-up in hospitals here in Columbus."
"He's a special young man," Jim Schmidtke with Athletes in Action told Christian Examiner. Schmidtke has worked with the players on the team and sees Perry's love for others as a sign of his faith.
"He responded immediately to the grace of God in Bible study," Schmidtke said. "He just took off. Now, he demonstrates leadership on the team, helping with the growth of his teammates' character and morals."
Tom Rode, also with Athletes in Action, has spent considerable time with Perry, teaching him more about discipleship. Rode said Perry's faith is infectious.
"He's been out into the community in upwards of a dozen speaking engagements sharing his faith," Rode told the Examiner. "He's become a real leader on the team."
Perry is also involved with the Autism Speaks Foundation. He has a personal interest in its success. His younger brother has a mild form of autism, but he still functions at a high level.
"The other outreach I do on my own is helping with 'Autism Speaks' events because of the impact it has had on my family. These fundraisers are great because they raise money for research and awareness," Perry said in the Buckeye game day profile.
Gregory Tomlin is a writer based in Fort Worth, Texas. He writes frequently on religion, politics and public policy issues. He is also assistant professor of church history with Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary