First, Karen Perry endured divorce. Then, the death of all three of her children along with her ex-husband in a plane crash. Two months later, is this Arizona woman about to lose her home?
Perry, who has suffered enough heartache for a lifetime, will be moving out of her home in Gold Canyon, Ariz., after the financial troubles brought by her divorce from her late ex-husband, Shawn, forced her to put it up for a short sale.
And it's not just any home -- it's the house where Perry's now-deceased children were raised, KPHO reports. When Perry moved into the four-bedroom home with her then-husband six years ago, she was newly pregnant with her third child, Luke. Her second child, Logan, had just begun to walk. It was a home that held almost a decade's worth of happy family memories that Perry holds onto desperately -- so much so, that she didn't even have the heart to put her kids' toys away after her children, aged 6, 8 and 9, were killed.
The collective deaths of her loved ones, in a crash on the eve of last Thanksgiving in the Superstition Mountains, coupled with the prospective loss of her home, has taken its toll on the struggling homeowner.
"There's days that I wake up that I feel like someone's poured cement on me ... where I feel like I can't even move," Perry told KPHO. "I need all the help I can get right now."
Luckily, help is what she's been getting.
Perry has been flooded with thousands of letters of support and sympathy, including charitable donations from companies such as Delta Airlines, where Karen is a flight attendant.
Delta Airlines' Ladies Day Fund is currently offering to match donations to help Perry. They have already raised $10,000 in funds for their colleague, and have announced that until the end of January, they will match all donations by 15 percent, and until the end of February, they will match all donations by 10 percent.
You can donate to the Ladies Day Fund by mailing a check to:
Ladies Day Fun, Inc.
1000 Bourbon Street, #370
New Orleans, LA 70116
Arizona singer and songwriter Tina Vallejo also wrote a song in memory of Perry's three children titled, "Fly My Angel." The song can be purchased on iTunes, with a portion of the sales going towards Perry.
Acres of parkland per 1,000 residents:24.2 (20th highest)
Playgrounds per 1,000 residents: 4.0 (11th highest)
Violent crimes per 1,000 residents: 5.9 (46th lowest)
Unemployment rate: 10.0% (43rd highest)
Adults with at least a high school degree: 87.6% (24th highest)
A number of features make Greensboro a first-class place to raise a family. Activities are plentiful. Its Country Park is one of the most visited parks in the country. It also has one of the highest playground-to-resident ratios in the country. Its excellent school system includes some of the top-ranked public high schools in the country, among them the Early College at Guilford and the Weaver Academyfor Performing & Visual Arts and Advanced Technology. Traditionally a center for the textile and tobacco industries, Greensboro's resurgence in recent years can be credited partly to new tech businesses opening up shop. With the local economy surging, home prices in Greensboro have risen steadily over the years, growing 4% from 2007 to 2010.
Acres of parkland per 1,000 residents:13.5 (42nd highest)
Playgrounds per 1,000 residents: 3.5 (15th highest)
Violent crimes per 1,000 residents: 2.6 (13th highest)
Unemployment rate: 8.5% (33rd lowest)
Adults with at least a high school degree: 92.8% (8th highest)
Boise is one of the safest cities in the country, and it also holds education as a high priority. According to the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, half of Idaho's general fund is allocated to education.The city has an especially high number of playgrounds for children to enjoy, and for the older kids, among of the highest numbers of skateboard parks per capita in the country.
Acres of parkland per 1,000 residents: 21 (25th highest)
Playgrounds per 1,000 residents: 3.4 (20th highest)
Violent crimes per 1,000 residents: 4.9 (33rd lowest)
Unemployment rate: 4.5% (2nd lowest)
Adults with at least a high school degree: 88.2% (21st highest)
Omaha's unemployment rate for 2011 was the second-lowest among major U.S.cities, at an astonishing 4.5%. The city has a bustling economy, with a large insurance, health care, and finance presence. FiveFortune 500 companies are based there, including Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway. The city also has a relatively impressive high school graduation rate. Pediatric coverage is good in Omaha, as the city has a number of top-ranking hospitals, including the Children's Hospital and Medical Center.
Acres of parkland per 1,000 residents:15.4 (36th highest)
Playgrounds per 1,000 residents: 2.6 (35th highest)
Violent crimes per 1,000 residents: 1.8 (7th lowest)
Unemployment rate: 7.5% (22nd lowest)
Adults with at least a high school degree: 93.3% (4th highest)
Many cities in Texas would rank among the exceptional places to raise a family if it weren't for high crime rates. Affluent Plano does not face this problem. Its rate of violent crime is the seventh-lowest among all major cities, and Forbes recently rated Plano America's safest city. It also boasts a top-notch school system. Due to the city's strengths, its population has more than doubled in recent years. Among the many side effects of that growth has been an increase in home prices that outpaced the rates in most other big cities.
Acres of parkland per 1,000 residents:72.2 (3rd highest)
Playgrounds per 1,000 residents: 1.4 (18th lowest)
Violent crimes per 1,000 residents: 1.5 (6th lowest)
Unemployment rate: 6.3%: (7th lowest)
Adults with at least a high school degree: 95.9% (the highest)
Scottsdale has emerged as one of Arizona's power cities. It has an extremely low rate of unemployment -- less than 6.3% for 2011 -- and an extremely high median household income of nearly $69,000. It also has the sixth-lowest rate of violent crime among major cities. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Scottsdale has the highest rate of educated adults among all major cities. The city has the third-largest amount of parkland relative to population. It is home to McDowell Sonoran Preserve, the fifth-largest city park in the country. Scottsdale also has among the most baseball diamonds relative to population.
Acres of parkland per 1,000 residents:24.8 (18th highest)
Playgrounds per 1,000 residents: 3.3 (21st highest)
Violent crimes per 1,000 residents: 4.8 (32nd lowest)
Unemployment rate: 3.7% (1st lowest)
Adults with at least a high school degree: 92.9% (6th highest)
Like neighboring Omaha, Lincoln's economy has done exceptionally well through the recession. It avoided major swings and the unemployment rate for 2011 the lowest among all major cities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment there hasn't exceeded 5% in the 21 years since the department began tracking it. The city also has large amounts of land dedicated to parks and playgrounds, including the nearly 1,500-acre Wilderness Park, offering plenty of places for families to spend quality time outdoors.
Acres of parkland per 1,000 residents:36.5 (10th highest)
Playgrounds per 1,000 residents: 2.8 (29th highest)
Violent crimes per 1,000 residents: 0.6 (5th lowest)
Unemployment rate: 6.7% (13th lowest)
Adults with at least a high school degree: 95.7% (2nd highest)
Irvine is a perfect city for parents who want their children to enjoy the outdoors. The planned community was developed with a focus on greenbelts, and features many bike paths and parks, including the recently established Orange County Great Park, which is still under construction. Irvine has one of the lowest rates of violent crime among all major cities. Its unemployment rate for 2011 was relatively low, at 6.7%. Like much of Orange County, Irvine suffered far less than other areas from the housing crisis.
Acres of parkland per 1,000 residents:30.8 (14th highest)
Playgrounds per 1,000 residents: 2.2 (49th highest)
Violent crimes per 1,000 residents: 4.1 (24th lowest)
Unemployment rate: 7.2% (17th lowest)
Adults with at least a high school degree: 91.7% (12th highest)
Raleigh is one of the strongest cities in North Carolina, economically speaking. Its high-tech and biotech industries are growing quickly, keeping unemployment low. The city has a top-notch school system that includes the highly ranked Raleigh Charter High School. Children are also surrounded by highly educated adults, as Raleigh was recently named the third-most educated city in the United States by Men's Health. Children have ample opportunities to enjoy activities, especially basketball: The city has one of the highest rates of basketball hoops per resident in the country.
Acres of parkland per 1,000 residents:77.7 (2nd highest)
Playgrounds per 1,000 residents: 5.0 (6th highest)
Violent crimes per 1,000 residents: 1.9 (8th lowest)
Unemployment rate: 6.1% (5th lowest)
Adults with at least a high school degree: 93.1% (5th highest)
Virginia Beach is extremely prosperous, due in large part to the presence of several military bases in the area. It has the eighth-lowest rate of violent crime among major cities and the fifth-lowest unemployment rate. It also has the second-largest acreage of parkland per capita, behind only New Orleans, which has suffered huge population losses in recent years. Virginia Beach also has one of the highest numbers of playgrounds per capita in the country.
Acres of parkland per 1,000 residents:22.3 (22nd highest)
Playgrounds per 1,000 residents: 7.0 (5th highest)
Violent crimes per 1,000 residents: 3.9 (21st lowest)
Unemployment rate: 5.1% (3rd lowest)
Adults with at least a high school degree: (3rd highest)
Madison's economic boom started in the 1990s and has just kept on going, largely avoiding the recent national recession. In 2011, its unemployment rate was 5.1%, far less than the national rate of 8.9%. Among the engines powering the city's economy are the state government, the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and its growing health and biotech industries. Madison is also a great place for recreational activities, with large amounts of land dedicated to public parks. Families can also take part in many water activities, as it borders multiple lakes.