Beanie Babies creator Ty Warner recently donated $20,000 to a woman who gave him driving directions in a Santa Barbara, California, parking lot.
Jennifer Vasilakos was holding a fundraiser in the parking lot, raising money for a stem-cell procedure, when Warner approached her.
The two chatted, with Vasilakos sharing her story of being rejected for a kidney transplant due to the removal of a small spot of melanoma from her back last year and of seeking alternative treatments overseas.
After Vasilakos gave Warner directions, he wrote her a $50 cheque. Warner later returned to tell her he would be sending her a $20,000 cheque.
Upon receiving the large donation, Vasilakos was told that "Ty Warner also wanted to support my efforts to bring attention to how stem cell medicine can help with kidney failure," she wrote on her blog.
"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.," Warner, Chairman and CEO of Ty Inc., said in a statement. "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."
Thanks to Warner's generous donation, Vasilakos is headed overseas for the treatment she needs.
"The cost of roundtrip travel. The cost of the dialysis treatments while there. The cost of the stem cell treatment itself. Food. Lodging. Calculating numbers in my head, I concluded that I might have enough now to go without worrying about anything. I might have all that I need to claim my life back and continue my journey here on Earth. All the tension in my body released and an unbelievable feeling of euphoria began to fill me," she wrote of the life-saving donation.