ABC News | Eliza Murphy
Beanie Babies, the hot collector’s item in the 1990s, became very valuable to one lucky woman.
After a chance encounter she had with the manufacturer’s owner, Ty Warner, Jennifer Vasilakos now has a greater chance of surviving a life-threatening kidney disorder.
Warner, the Beanie Babies billionaire mogul of Ty Inc., got lost in on July 14 in Santa Barbara, Calif. and pulled into the parking lot of a local festival to ask for directions.
“He’d rolled up in his nondescript car, while I was fundraising at the French Festival. He was lost and needed directions. I often get asked by random strangers for directions. Not one to miss an opportunity, I handed him my flyer and he made a fifty dollar donation,” Vasilakos wrote on her blog.
Vasilakos was in the parking lot raising money for the stem cell treatment she so desperately needed to recover her kidney function and come off dialysis, she said on her fundraising website.
Vasilakos’ kidneys failed last year (doctors still don’t know why) and she was told she was ineligible for a kidney transplant for now because she previously had a small melanoma removed from her back. The stem cell treatment was the next best option, as it costs less than a transplant and she wouldn’t have to take drugs to suppress her immune system and keep her body from rejecting a new organ.