Danielle Ferguson has $125 to her name and a nine-month-old daughter to support.
In good times, finances can be a struggle for the single mother -- and these are not good times.
The 36-year-old hairstylist from Mesa was hit hard when her salon announced an indefinite closure earlier this week due to the coronavirus.
The decision sent Ferguson into a panic, wondering how she would pay her bills without that income to rely on. That's when a friend told her about a Tweet from Dave Pasch, the Cardinals' longtime radio play-by-play announcer.
Pasch posted that he would be willing to help families in Phoenix adversely affected by COVID-19, so Ferguson sent him a hopeful query.
"I honestly didn't know what he would be able to help with," Ferguson said. "I (would have been) grateful for help with a bag of groceries. He was like, 'What financially can you not take care of right now? What's your biggest hurdle?' I said, 'Honestly, I'm terrified I'm not going to be able to make rent.'"
Pasch jumped into action, covering the March payment for Ferguson's studio apartment in Mesa.
"I just went into it hoping I would get some relief," Ferguson said. "Needless to say, I'm grateful."
Pasch and his wife, Hallie, have aided others before, but never so publicly. Pasch was initially reticent to share this story, but hopes it can spark others to aid those most vulnerable.
"There are people out there that are going to be affected," Pasch said. "People we don't even think about. There are jobs and things that I've never even thought of, and it's overwhelming, man. I've had so many DMs. I can only help (so many). I'm not a professional athlete or a multi-billion dollar company, and that's why I'm really just trying to get the word out. Even if it's just a couple people each. One person each. It can be a $10 bill, a $1,000 bill. Whatever it is. Maybe we can get the word out and, I don't want to say start a movement, but have enough people to help some hurting people in the Valley. Just to lessen the burden, to carry one another's burden during this time."
Pasch's public plea has been effective. He said numerous people have messaged him to help, including former NFL quarterback Christian Ponder and his wife, NFL Countdown host Samantha, as well as former WNBA star Rebecca Lobo, former NFL quarterback Todd Blackledge, ESPN college football analyst Tom Luginbill and Suns broadcaster Tom Leander.
Pasch said he has followed the example of his church, Compass Christian, which routinely pays off medical bills and covers car payments for those in need. Pasch prefers to pay bills directly instead of transferring money through an app like Venmo.
"It's a way to give back, and also do it in a way that is as clear and efficient as possible," Pasch said. "That's the reason we did it this way. And the response has been pretty good. People have understood that, hey, we're not just going to give out cash. We're going to pay a bill.'"
In addition to his Cardinals duties, Pasch does basketball broadcasts, and was poised to announce the Kings-Pelicans game on March 11 for ESPN. That was the night Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, which suspended the Utah-Oklahoma City game.
Pasch's game was then postponed, followed quickly by the entire NBA season. The fast-falling dominoes brought Pasch's demanding professional duties to a halt.
"I went home from Sacramento not knowing when I would get on a plane again," Pasch said. "Initially, you start to think about yourself, and it's easy to fall into this selfish cycle, where all you're doing is worrying about yourself. It's important to realize there are a lot of people in far worse situations. It's a way of holding yourself accountable, to be thinking of others.
"Going through this process, realizing how many people have been impacted by this – whether it's people in my business that are freelancers that were counting on events to pay their bills; or it's people that work in the service industry. Restaurants. Uber. It's just amazing how so many businesses have been impacted by this."
Ferguson still has a tough road ahead. Her mother and grandparents have passed away. She never knew her father, and her sister lives out of state.
"I'm pretty much orphaned, I call it," Ferguson said. "I don't have anybody."
Ferguson considers herself lucky that, in the absence of family, a stranger like Pasch stepped in.
"I reached out not expecting anything," Ferguson said. "It was kind of like, 'Let's see if the universe will help me out.' And then he wrote me. It was definitely a big weight off my shoulders."