Getting to play with arcade games every day seems like a dream job.
For Jon Weaver, it's his real job. But that job was almost taken away, so he's now taking his love of pinball and making sure others get to live out their dreams, too.
Two years ago, Jon Weaver opened Suncoast Pinball & Arcade.
It's one of the only in the world making pinball machines.
“I grew up working at my father's restaurant. Little kid, nine years old, busing tables. Every quarter I got, they went into arcade machines and pinball.”
Just as the business was growing, he noticed a lump in his neck.
“Got it biopsied and it was melanoma. Skin cancer. Which meant it was in my lymph nodes and my neck. It was at least stage three, possibly stage four," Jon said.
Jon was 39-years-old.
Jon had a wife, a daughter and a new business.
“He underwent a five and a half hour surgery, got the tumors removed, after he healed he went through a month of daily radiation, and then after that went through a year of an immunotherapy,” Jon’s wife, Stephany said.
What he didn't have, was health insurance.
“Moffitt came through huge. Not only did they save my life with their treatment, but finances and my business. They paid 100 percent, excuse me, 100 percent of the treatment until we could get insurance,” Jon said.
But in the middle of all the bad, there was some good.
“We had literally had one week in between and we got pregnant, so 'what goes through your mind when that happens?' Amazing, miracle, it's gonna be okay.”
Jon got to ring the bell at Moffitt Cancer Center in February of 2018. His treatment was over, but this journey is not.
He's taking his love of arcade games and hosting The Play for a Cure Arcade Tournament to give back.
“I think that it's important that as we are successful and doing better, which thanks to Moffitt we are, I think it's important to help other people out.”
The Play for a Cure Arcade Tournament is Saturday, October 6th from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Minnreg Hall in Largo.
You can register here.
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