A woman who set up a roadside stall in hopes of raising a few dollars for her costly kidney treatment couldn’t have even dreamed of what happened to her.
Jennifer Vasilakos was in luck when Ty Warner, founder of the Beanie Babies toys, was lost in Santa Barbara, California.
While pulling into a lot to ask for directions, Warner stumbled upon Jennifer, who was raising money for a stem cell treatment she needed.
They began to speak and she told him about her kidneys failing in 2011, and how she had been rejected for a kidney transplant because of a previous bout with skin cancer.
After getting the directions he needed, Warner wrote out a $50 check and promised to contribute more to her cause.
He kept his promise, and within a few days, Jennifer received a $20,000 check in the mail.
Upon receiving the check, she broke into tears.
“It was the type of letter you keep forever, and accompanying it was the check,” she said.
“A check that could change my life in an instant. Streaming tears of relief and amazement fell uncontrollably from my eyes, as I walked out of the room back towards the exit. I was flooded with indescribable emotion.”
Warner wants to use this as an example to shed light on how stem cells can provide help other methods cannot.
“After I serendipitously met Jennifer, I further educated myself on her stem cell needs. I was shocked that this particular type of treatment wasn’t available to her in the U.S.,” said Warner.
“My hope is that we can bring this lifesaving treatment to the forefront so that it can become more readily available and provide alternatives for people like Jennifer.”
Jennifer left the country on August 19th to receive the treatment. She will announce the country and hospital she is to be treated in once she returns.