Ty Warner Makes Generous Donation To Stranger

Jennifer Vasilakos was standing at an intersection in California trying to raise $20,000 so that she could have a life-saving stem cell procedure. She expected to stand there for hours, days, or weeks in order to meet her goal. But than billionaire Ty Warner pulled up in his car to ask for directions.

The Slideshow reports that Warner was lost in Santa Barbara when he stopped to ask Vasilakos for directions. Vasilakos told Warner, the founder of Ty Inc., the Beanie Baby Company, where to go and then handed him one of her flyers.

Warner made a $50 donation and then left.

A few hours later, however, Warner returned with a promise.

Vasilakos writes on her blog:

“I handed (Warner) my flyer and he made a fifty dollar donation. As he drove off, I thought that was the end of our encounter… He’d returned after an hour or so. Rolling down his window, he reached out his hand and introduced himself. I immediately recognized his name. He was kind and sincere as he looked directly into my eyes. I listened as he repeated over and over that he was going to help me. That my fundraising was done. That I didn’t need to worry any longer. He said he would send a check after he returned to his offices during the week.”


A few weeks later Vasilakos received the $20,000 check in the mail which she used to begin hematopoietic stem cell treatment.

Ty Warner’s generous gift enabled Jennifer Vasilakos to get the treatment she needed to recover from kidney failure. It also opened Warner’s eyes to the fact that some medical procedures, like hematopoietic stem cell treatment, are not available in the United States.

Warner writes:

“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. 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.”