Jonathan’s Story

Jon with African orphans

Jonathan’s Impact was formed in 2009 after the death of Steve and Cassy DiLeo’s 17 year old son, Jonathan DiLeo.  In August of 2008, just a week before the start of his junior year of high school in Mandeville, LA, the previously healthy Jonathan was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in the center of his brain. Tragically, Jonathan succumbed to the illness only four months later.

Shortly after his diagnosis, Jonathan was given the opportunity to have a wish granted by the Make a Wish Foundation of Louisiana. Jonathan’s wish was to provide a much needed irrigation system for the Mbuya Nehanda Children’s Home, an orphanage in Melfort, Zimbabwe.

Jonathan at age 16, the year that he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Jonathan had visited this orphanage on a mission trip in 2005 and was struck by the impoverished living conditions of the orphanage.  Especially moving was the lack of water to irrigate crops; without water, the orphanage was severely lacking in food supply.  Jonathan’s Wish to provide irrigation to the fields met the needs of the orphanage for food and water.

About a year after Jonathan’s death, his wish was granted and the irrigation system was installed.  This system improved crop production and enabled the home to meet the nutritional needs of the children.

The Mbuya Nehanda Children’s Home was closed in 2013.  The irrigation system has been moved to the fields for the Chileleko’s children’s home, where it continues to supply water to meet the needs of orphans.