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Former Calgarian launches campaign to help deaf man selling handcrafted keychains on city streets

When Jasmine Simpson saw the post in the Calgary Buy and Sell group on Facebook, she knew immediately she wanted to help.

Simpson, a former Calgarian now living in San Diego, peeks into the group from time-to-time because she’s trying to find a new vehicle and hopes to return to the city one day soon.

She said she rarely logs into Facebook, but she did, and came across the post from Perry Blois.

“I am a deaf person selling key chains to make some money and survive this difficult times, [sic],” the post from Blois reads.

‘oh my gosh, this is beautiful’

The keychains that Perry Blois sells. FACEBOOK

Perry makes the handcrafted keychains from a bathroom in a northwest Calgary motel. The $5 he makes from each keychain sale helps keep him housed.

His business has been hit by the coronavirus, too.

“As covid-19 pandemic affecting everyone it did affect me to. I am unable to sell my key chains on the streets so I will try it online,” the post continued.

“Please help so I will be able to have place to stay in a hotel.”

Simpson said the keychains really caught her eye.

“I was like ‘oh my gosh, this is beautiful.’” And I read his story and I was distraught; I was in tears,” she said.

“I was like, ‘I gotta do something.’”

Immediately, Simpson looked into creating a GoFundMe to help Blois.

She learned that Blois didn’t have a bank account, but she still had one. So, she arranged with her mom and sister – who still live in Calgary – that they would take the money directly to Blois when the campaign ended.

Currently, the total sits at over $4,250 from 149 donors. The goal was $6,000.

Others coming to Perry’s aid

Kamil Parzych works at the hotel where Blois stayed.

He said Blois been there for more than a month.

“One morning I overheard that he’s struggling with money to pay for the room,” Parzych told LiveWire Calgary

“He seemed to be in a lot of stress that day.”

Parzych said the hotel manager then allowed Blois to stay another night and pay him for it the next day. Typically, the hotel where Blois stayed would have required him to leave after the extended stay. Blois said he’d try to get to a bank to extend the limit on a credit card, Parzych said.

“I told him that I would try to help him because I knew that he is selling his keychains,” he said.

Parzych met with Blois after work and together, they created the simple messages to post online. Those are the messages posted online.

Yesterday, Parzych took Blois to get replacement glasses.

Hoping to help Perry Blois find a semi-permanent solution

Simpson, a single mom of two, said what drew her to Blois was his commitment to the art. She creates and sell art locally in California and she knows it can be a struggle at the best of times.

He wasn’t looking for a handout, she said.

“Instead of sitting there and panhandling, he’s literally working out of a bathroom at a hotel making these keychains, just to make enough money to make the next day’s rent or fee to be able to stay the night there,” Simpson said.

In a recent update to the GoFundMe page, Simpson said that she was looking for an Airbnb where Blois could stay, with the cost pre-paid for up to three months. She said the location he’s in now wants him out by Friday.

LiveWire Calgary has connected with Perry via Facebook messenger. He’s reluctant to talk. We are arranging an opportunity to meet up with him.

Initially, Simpson was hoping to find a temporary fix for Blois. Now, with the money raised, she’s hoping to help him find something semi-permanent.

“I know that there are people out there like this, always, but the fact that people are more willing to do it now and everybody’s becoming more humble because of the situation going on,” she said.

“It makes it that much more beautiful.”