Greek-American Jennifer Vasilakos from Santa Barbara would have never imagined she would cross roads with billionaire toy manufacturer Ty Warner while she was holding a fundraiser in a parking lot aiming at covering the expenses of a life-saving procedure she needed.
Warner asked Vasilakos for directions and soon found out the tough-life story behind the woman. Vasilakos was in dire need of a stem cell procedure for her kidney failure and Warner rushed to offer his help by giving her a $20,000 check.
Vasilakos is trying to bring awareness to stem cell medicine and its benefits after she had been rejected for a kidney transplant due to her increased chances of developing cancer due to a melanoma removal from her back.
“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, Chairman and CEO of Ty Inc, according to BusinessWire.com. “My hope is that we can bring this life-saving treatment to the forefront so that it can become more readily available and provide alternatives for people like Jennifer.”
Vasilakos had to leave the U.S. on August 19 to undergo the procedure at a foreign hospital, since US hospitals do not perform the necessary treatment. Hoping to bring knowledge and hope to those suffering from similar illnesses, Vasilakos has started a blog explaining the benefits of stem cell therapy and describing the phases of her struggle to stay alive.