Skip to main content

What's Up Magazine

Towne Salue: Jason Cherry, Siblings of Autism

Dec 05, 2016 03:07PM ● Published by Becca Newell

By Becca Newell // Photo by Tony J Photography

Jason Cherry isn’t your typical 20-year-old. The Annapolis resident is a former professional racecar driver, a local business owner, and founder of the nonprofit, Siblings of Autism.

“This is where you give me credit,” jokes Catherine Purple Cherry, his mother who’s sitting next to her son during our interview. “You know, leading by example,” she adds, laughing.

Cherry smiles, nodding in agreement, his relaxed demeanor in full effect. His poise would be an impressive feat for any young adult with so many responsibilities on his plate, but Cherry’s business and philanthropic endeavors aren’t his only concern.

Nineteen days before our meeting, Cherry was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Our interview takes place shortly after his first round of chemotherapy. In total, he will undergo five chemo treatments before radiation therapy, but he is, fortunately, expected to make a full recovery.

“Radiation is going to be a walk in the park compared to chemo,” he says, with a chuckle.

This story isn’t about his illness, however. Miraculously, his positive spirit, energetic drive, and sense of humor aren’t dampened. And, like Cherry, that will remain the focus of this piece.

Cherry’s involvement with autism basically began at birth. His adopted older brother, Matthew, was born on the autism spectrum and, as a result, he suffered through periods of violence during his adolescence. From 2014 to 2015, while pro racing at venues across the nation, Cherry partnered with the Autism Society of America—initially spurred by his mother’s involvement on its board—to advocate for and promote the organization. With a car and helmet branded for autism awareness and large cheering squads attending each race, Cherry became well known throughout the circuit.

Although his adoration for professional auto racing is obvious, he ultimately decided to leave in 2015 to pursue his business venture, Mission Escape Rooms. The interactive entertainment experience, located on West Street, tests the wit and skills of attendees as they solve puzzles to unlock the room they’re trapped in.

“I saw a need and a place and I knew I could immediately move forward with it,” he says, explaining why he decided to open Mission Escape Rooms earlier this year. “I wanted to be able to carry this hustle that I had from racing and make stuff happen.”

While the company readied for its launch, Cherry remained involved with the Autism Society of America, attending conferences and leading speaking engagements. And, being the self-starter type, he decided to establish a nonprofit, Siblings of Autism, in partnership with the organization.

As a sibling of a child with autism, Cherry says he’s familiar with the stress it can cause within a home, so he wanted to form an organization that would create a “shining light” in the life of others undergoing a similar experience.

Unlike many self-owned businesses that are for personal gain, Cherry funnels profits from Mission Escape Rooms into his nonprofit to help fulfill that mission. Proceeds help to create educational scholarships, respite funds, and outreach programs for individuals affected by autism.

“It’s all personally funded,” he says, referring to his organization.

Cherry is eager to add that once he’s regained the energy he had prior to his diagnosis, he’ll be planning additional fundraisers to benefit the nonprofit.

“I was organizing a color run to go through the city of Annapolis with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting Siblings of Autism,” he says, explaining that the project was put on hold after his chemotherapy treatments began. “I hope to hold it in spring; it’s ready to happen when I’m ready to make it happen.”

Before this article went to print, I revisited with Cherry to check in on his prognosis. After finishing chemo, scans revealed that all of the cancer cells were metabolically dead. Once he’s completed radiation therapy, he’ll officially be in remission.

He’s been told his energy levels will return within a few months, but it’s clear his unwavering spirit won’t have him sitting still for long. And while he might not be going as fast as he would like right now, he’ll continue enhancing and expanding both his business and philanthropic ventures one day at a time.

“That’s where I find excitement,” he says. “That’s what I love.”

For more information, visit Siblingsofautism.org.

Today, Community towne salute nonprofit December Annapolis 2016 jason cherry siblings of autism
  • Mini Masters at the Academy Art Museum

    01/27/2018
    08:00AM — 05:00PM

    Mini Masters Academy introduces young children (ages 2-4) to new ideas through a thematic approac...


  • Her Stories: A Women’s Art Show

    01/27/2018
    08:00AM — 04:30PM

    Local women artists of all experience levels, from first time exhibitors to veteran professionals...


  • Winter Group Show

    01/27/2018
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    A rotating group show featuring an eclectic mix of artwork including oil paintings, pastels, orna...


  • The U.S. Naval Academy museum welcomes more than 100,000 visitors annually from all over the work...


  • 1967: Civil Rights at 50

    01/27/2018
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    1967: Civil Rights at 50 tells the dramatic story of the growing militancy of the struggle for ra...


  • Indoor Mini Golf at Linvilla Orchards

    01/27/2018
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Linvilla Orchard’s ‘Fore! The Planet’ is a highly interactive and playful museum exhibit created ...


  • The Chesapeake Fine Art Studio in Stevensville brings in the best artists in the country to prese...


  • Free Ballet Classes for Beginners

    01/27/2018
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    Free Trial Ballet Classes for beginning students. Ages 3 - 6 Saturday, January 27th 9:30 - 10:...


  • Game on! Learn how to create a video game. This interactive exhibition allows visitors to immerse...


  • Backyard Birds & Birdhouses

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM

    Opening reception May 20 in conjunction with the Delmarvalous Festival The beauty of nature is j...


  • Reinvention: The Work of Chris Bathgate

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Featuring 28 works of art, Reinvention: The Work of Chris Bathgate explores how modern and tradit...


  • Annet Couwenberg: From Digital to Damask

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    This intimate exhibition of approximately 11 works by Maryland-based artist Annet Couwenberg reve...


  • Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Utopian Projects

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    Acclaimed Russian-born American artists, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, have been working collaborative...


  • Edvard Munch: Color in Context

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    In the second half of the 19th century, advances in physics, electromagnetic radiation theory, an...


  • Black Box: Kara Walker & Hank Willis Thomas

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Salvation by Kara Walker, one of the most significant works in the BMA’s contemporary collection,...


  • Parallax Gap

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    Parallax Gap transforms the Renwick Gallery’s Bettie Rubenstein Grand Salon into a visual puzzle....


  • Tomás Saraceno

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Tomás Saraceno is creating an ambitious, site-specific installation that will be suspended across...


  • In the Tower: Anne Truitt

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    The studio life of Anne Truitt (1921–2004) is explored in the first major presentation of her wor...


  • A Soothsayer is a person who predicts the future by magical, intuitive, or more rational means; s...


  • Spiral Play: Loving in the ‘80s

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    For 40 years, Al Loving experimented with materials and process to expand the definition of moder...


  • After Faberge

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM

    After Fabergé, an exhibition of five digital prints by artist Jonathan Monaghan, runs concurrentl...


  • The Message: New Media Works

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    The Message: New Media Works is a transformative journey through five contemporary film and video...


  • Mural

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    A special installation in the Gallery’s East Building features Mural (1943) by Jackson Pollock, o...


  • Crossing Borders: Mexican Modernist Prints

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    This is the BMA’s first exhibition to highlight the Museum’s rarely shown collection of prints an...


  • This exhibition explores the Russian crafts tradition that culminated with the world-renowned Hou...


  • Dressed for Work

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    The way we dress for work can offer clues about what we do for a living, where we are employed an...


  • Second Wind

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM

    Second Wind will feature the artwork of Anne Arundel County Public School retired art teachers. I...


  • Baltimore Boat Show

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 08:00PM

    The Baltimore Boat Show, held at the Baltimore Convention Center is the ultimate stop if you're l...


  • Bob Grieser’s Lens on the Chesapeake

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Bob Grieser’s Lens on the Chesapeake is a photography exhibition featuring both black and white a...


  • Annual RiverArts Members’ Show

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    The annual RiverArts Members’ Show highlights the quality and diversity of the Chestertown arts c...


  • Renowned artist, H.C. Porter, lives part-time in Annapolis when she’s not residing in Mississippi...


  • Beth van Hoesen: Prints

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM

    Beth Van Hoesen (1926–2010) was an American artist who was born in Boise, ID. She earned a BA fro...


  • Delmarva Visions: The Works of Patrick Henry

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Patrick Henry is a painter and photographer who has been living and working on the Eastern Shore ...


  • Freedom: Emancipation Quilted & Stitched

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Freedom: Emancipation Quilted & Stitched is an exhibition of documentary-style story quilts that ...


  • Winter Splendor

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    McBride Gallery is hosting its annual winter-themed show, Winter Splendor. Pennsylvania painter L...


  • The Great Mystery Show

    01/27/2018
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Welcome All Ye Passionately Curious! The Great Mystery Show beckons you – each the star of your o...


  • Saturday Wine Tasting

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    Join us every Saturday at The Wine Cellars of Annapolis for our free wine tasting! New theme ever...


  • Claymation Animation Ages: 9 to 15, Limit 8 Instructor: Cher Pizzi Length: 8 Weeks Saturday...


  • Billy Goats Gruff

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM

    This exciting adaptation of a classic fairy tale, set to favorite opera arias, is the perfect way...


  • Polar Bear Plunge

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    More than 10,000 people from across the state will plunge into the chilly Chesapeake Bay at Sandy...


  • Tamayo: The New York Years

    01/27/2018
    11:30AM — 07:00PM

    Tamayo: The New York Years is the first exhibition to explore the influences between this major M...


  • Stanley William Hayter (1901–1988), a preeminent, influential printmaker, and founder of Atelier ...


  • GUIDED HIKE

    01/27/2018
    01:00PM

    Join us for a guided hike on CBEC’s 510 acre peninsula for this unique opportunity to discover so...


  • Open House

    01/27/2018
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    School of the Incarnation is a fully-accredited Catholic school that educates over 800 students i...


  • No Limits! Monster Trucks

    01/27/2018
    01:00PM

    JANUARY 26 & 27 - Three shows in two days! FRIDAY 7:30 P.M., SATURDAY 1 P.M., SATURDAY 7:30 P.M...


  • Open House at School of the Incarnation

    01/27/2018
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Come see the opportunities that are waiting for your child at School of the Incarnation where lea...


  • Fiddler on the Roof

    01/27/2018
    02:00PM

    Winner of nine Tony awards, this musical play tells the story of the village of Anatevka, a Jewis...


  • The Humans

    01/27/2018
    02:00PM

    Stephen Karam’s The Humans is an uproarious, hopeful, and heartbreaking play that takes place ove...


  • Beauty and the Beast

    01/27/2018
    02:00PM

    Children's Theatre of Annapolis presents the beloved musical Disney's Beauty and the Beast at its...


  • Blithe Spirit

    01/27/2018
    02:00PM

    The smash comedy hit of the London and Broadway stages, this much-revived classic from the playwr...


  • Take an enlightening journey through 5,000 years! Shen Yun’s unique artistic vision expands theat...


  • Cloud 9

    01/27/2018
    02:00PM

    A comedy of manners that spans centuries, Cloud 9 is a smart, satirical look at gender politics a...


  • Sovereignty

    01/27/2018
    02:00PM

    Some wounds refuse to heal. Mary Kathryn Nagle’s daring new work, which debuts as the fourth prod...


  • Science Saturdays

    01/27/2018
    02:00PM — 03:00PM

    Amazing Air is a fun, interactive workshop that uses hands-on experiments to help kids learn abo...


  • Frank Brennan Solo Show

    01/27/2018
    02:30PM

    Frank Brennan, award-winning photographer and AAA Board member, has an exhibit and sale of his wo...


  • Register now for Creative Clay- Kid's Pottery Classes in Chester Springs, Chester County! Regi...


  • Looking for the perfect gift for a creative child? Kids love working with clay! Registration n...


  • Does your child enjoy art? Give the gift of creativity! Kids learn drawing and painting as they t...


  • German Saturday: Heidi & The Heimat Echo

    01/27/2018
    05:00PM — 09:00PM

    Enjoy live music by Heidi & The Heimat Echor at Old Stein Inn!


  • Beauty and the Beast

    01/27/2018
    07:00PM

    Children's Theatre of Annapolis presents the beloved musical Disney's Beauty and the Beast at its...


  • With the football season near a close, keep your Navy spirit alive and head over to the McMullen ...


  • On Your Feet!

    01/27/2018
    07:30PM

    From their humble beginnings in Cuba, Emilio and Gloria Estefan came to America and broke throu...


  • On Your Feet!

    01/27/2018
    07:30PM

    From their humble beginnings in Cuba, Emilio and Gloria Estefan came to America and broke throu...


  • Take an enlightening journey through 5,000 years! Shen Yun’s unique artistic vision expands theat...


  • No Limits! Monster Trucks

    01/27/2018
    07:30PM

    JANUARY 26 & 27 - Three shows in two days! FRIDAY 7:30 P.M., SATURDAY 1 P.M., SATURDAY 7:30 P.M...


  • Rising Stars

    01/27/2018
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    Londontowne Symphony Orchestra and Arundel Vocal Arts Society Rising Stars Anna Binneweg,...


  • Beethoven and Brahms

    01/27/2018
    07:30PM

    If ever there was a perfect partner to Beethoven’s moody and dramatic C Minor Piano Concerto, it’...


  • The Concert Band of the U.S. Army Field Band’s elite 65-member instrumental ensemble has performe...


  • The Trial at Synetic Theater

    01/27/2018
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    “It’s in the nature of this judicial system that one is condemned not only in innocence but also ...


  • The Trial at Synetic Theater

    01/27/2018
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    “It’s in the nature of this judicial system that one is condemned not only in innocence but also ...


  • Fiddler on the Roof

    01/27/2018
    08:00PM

    Winner of nine Tony awards, this musical play tells the story of the village of Anatevka, a Jewis...


  • Multi-Platinum selling Broadway star Ann Hampton Callaway fuses a unique blend of jazz and pop th...


  • The Humans

    01/27/2018
    08:00PM

    Stephen Karam’s The Humans is an uproarious, hopeful, and heartbreaking play that takes place ove...


  • Christoph Eschenbach conducts Brahms's Variations on a Theme by Haydn and Schumann's "Rhenish" Sy...


  • Quartet

    01/27/2018
    08:00PM

    Cecily, Reggie, and Wilfred reside in a home for retired opera singers in Kent, England. Each yea...


  • Blithe Spirit

    01/27/2018
    08:00PM

    The smash comedy hit of the London and Broadway stages, this much-revived classic from the playwr...


  • Cloud 9

    01/27/2018
    08:00PM

    A comedy of manners that spans centuries, Cloud 9 is a smart, satirical look at gender politics a...


  • Sovereignty

    01/27/2018
    08:00PM

    Some wounds refuse to heal. Mary Kathryn Nagle’s daring new work, which debuts as the fourth prod...


  • Tartuffe :: Presented by Perisphere Theater

    01/27/2018
    08:00PM — 10:00PM

    From the 17th century, this Moliere farce employs witty rhyming couplets and classic characters i...


  • Love-Nothing

    01/27/2018
    08:00PM

    "Love-Nothing" examines the ideals of faith, hope, and love as foundations for three different co...


  • The Shatners

    01/27/2018
    10:00PM

    Enjoy live music by The Shatners at Middleton Tavern!


  • Mini Masters at the Academy Art Museum

    01/29/2018
    08:00AM — 05:00PM

    Mini Masters Academy introduces young children (ages 2-4) to new ideas through a thematic approac...


  • Crowns

    01/29/2018
    08:00AM — 06:00PM

    Crossing into motherhood is a monumental shift in a woman's life. In this time, artist mothers re...


  • Her Stories: A Women’s Art Show

    01/29/2018
    08:00AM — 04:30PM

    Local women artists of all experience levels, from first time exhibitors to veteran professionals...


  • Ensemble Exhibit

    01/29/2018
    08:30AM — 04:30PM

    Founder of the Art Department at Anne Arundel Community College which he headed up the for over 3...


  • The U.S. Naval Academy museum welcomes more than 100,000 visitors annually from all over the work...


  • Caprichos: Goya and Lombardo

    01/29/2018
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    Caprichos by Emily Lombardo is a series of etchings which are in direct conversation and homage t...


  • 1967: Civil Rights at 50

    01/29/2018
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    1967: Civil Rights at 50 tells the dramatic story of the growing militancy of the struggle for ra...


  • Indoor Mini Golf at Linvilla Orchards

    01/29/2018
    09:00AM — 05:00PM

    Linvilla Orchard’s ‘Fore! The Planet’ is a highly interactive and playful museum exhibit created ...


  • SCHOOL'S OUT CAMP

    01/29/2018
    09:00AM — 03:30PM

    Need something for your kids to do when schools are out? Send them to CBEC for a day full of hand...


  • Backyard Birds & Birdhouses

    01/29/2018
    10:00AM

    Opening reception May 20 in conjunction with the Delmarvalous Festival The beauty of nature is j...


  • Weekly Fine Art Classes

    01/29/2018
    10:00AM

    Chesapeake Fine Art Studio offers top-quality art classes in a variety of media every week. Study...


  • Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Utopian Projects

    01/29/2018
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    Acclaimed Russian-born American artists, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, have been working collaborative...


  • Parallax Gap

    01/29/2018
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    Parallax Gap transforms the Renwick Gallery’s Bettie Rubenstein Grand Salon into a visual puzzle....


  • In the Tower: Anne Truitt

    01/29/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    The studio life of Anne Truitt (1921–2004) is explored in the first major presentation of her wor...


  • A Soothsayer is a person who predicts the future by magical, intuitive, or more rational means; s...


  • The Message: New Media Works

    01/29/2018
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    The Message: New Media Works is a transformative journey through five contemporary film and video...


  • Mural

    01/29/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    A special installation in the Gallery’s East Building features Mural (1943) by Jackson Pollock, o...


  • Renowned artist, H.C. Porter, lives part-time in Annapolis when she’s not residing in Mississippi...


  • Caprichos: Goya and Lombardo

    01/29/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Caprichos by Emily Lombardo is a series of etchings which are in direct conversation and homage t...


  • Second Wind

    01/29/2018
    10:00AM

    Second Wind will feature the artwork of Anne Arundel County Public School retired art teachers. I...


  • Bob Grieser’s Lens on the Chesapeake

    01/29/2018
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Bob Grieser’s Lens on the Chesapeake is a photography exhibition featuring both black and white a...


  • Beth van Hoesen: Prints

    01/29/2018
    10:00AM

    Beth Van Hoesen (1926–2010) was an American artist who was born in Boise, ID. She earned a BA fro...


  • Delmarva Visions: The Works of Patrick Henry

    01/29/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Patrick Henry is a painter and photographer who has been living and working on the Eastern Shore ...


  • Winter Splendor

    01/29/2018
    10:00AM — 05:30PM

    McBride Gallery is hosting its annual winter-themed show, Winter Splendor. Pennsylvania painter L...


  • Claymation Animation Ages: 9 to 15, Limit 8 Instructor: Cher Pizzi Length: 8 Weeks Saturday...


  • Tamayo: The New York Years

    01/29/2018
    11:30AM — 07:00PM

    Tamayo: The New York Years is the first exhibition to explore the influences between this major M...


  • Open Portrait Studio

    01/29/2018
    01:00PM — 03:30PM

    Mondays, 9:30 a.m. - noon The group meets weekly with a live model. Model fee collected weekly....


  • Frank Brennan Solo Show

    01/29/2018
    02:30PM

    Frank Brennan, award-winning photographer and AAA Board member, has an exhibit and sale of his wo...


  • Register now for Creative Clay- Kid's Pottery Classes in Chester Springs, Chester County! Regi...


  • Looking for the perfect gift for a creative child? Kids love working with clay! Registration n...


  • Does your child enjoy art? Give the gift of creativity! Kids learn drawing and painting as they t...


  • Ketogenic Lifestyle Class

    01/29/2018
    06:15PM — 08:00PM

    Come learn about this empowering way of life where eating the right diet can turn your body into ...


  • Black Label Society

    01/29/2018
    07:30PM

    Enjoy live music by Black Label Society at The Fillmore Silver Spring!


  • Open Mic Night

    01/29/2018
    09:00PM — 12:00AM

    Every Monday night at Stan and Joe's on West Street in Annapolis join Kevin "The Hurricane" Lebli...


  • Timmie Metz

    01/29/2018
    10:00PM — 01:00AM

    Enjoy music from Timmie Metz every Monday at 10 p.m.


 

 

Towne Social