December 23, 2003 spout

Lending a Helping Hand

I know this sounds like spam, but it’s not — it’s from my Uncle Mark, who’s also my godfather and the nicest man I’ve even known:

Chris, I’m writing you to ask your help. My brother Tom was gravely ill. Tom is 55 years old, married with two grown sons. He needed both a liver and a kidney transplant. He just received his transplants. It was by the grace of God just in time as he was within 2 to 3 days of death. He is doing well with no signs of rejection and just some minor complications. Unfortunately, he is nearly bankrupt from all his medical bills. Tom’s life has been marked by several challenges, many overcome through hard work and determination. He is a man of immense spirit and we all love him dearly. This is a challenge he can’t face alone. As you can imagine, our family is very concerned. We pray a lot. We have also undertaken a benefit and raffles for him to help him with his expenses. Right now we’re just trying to help him pay his mortgage and put food on his table. He hasn’t been able to work for three months. He also faces a tremendous bill from the transplant that his health insurance won’t pay.

There are five courses of action I’d like you to consider. First of course is I’d appreciate your prayers for my brother Tom that he continue to recover his health and his finances. The next four things I am asking for is your support of our raffles and benefit.

I would like you to consider purchasing a ticket for what we call the Big Money Raffle”. There will be a limit of 110 tickets sold. First prize is $2000. Second prize is $1250. Third prize is $750. There will be an additional ten $100 winners. Odds of winning some prize are 13 in 110. 3 in 110 chance of bettering your bet. 1 in 110 of winning the top prize. Tickets cost $135 apiece. Much better odds than the lottery. Drawing 1/11/04.

Also available are Quilt tickets at $1 apiece. My sister made the Queen size quilt. Value is somewhere between $1000 and $1500. Drawing 1/11/04.

The third thing I’d like you to consider is if you know anyone among your connections in the computer world who might also like the opportunity to purchase Big Money” and Quilt” raffle tickets. I know you know a lot of people and some of them might be generous of spirit and/or gamblers. I think this time of year people yearn to be of help and service but aren’t often sure what they can do. This is one such opportunity.

The fourth thing I’d like you to consider is helping with the benefit dinner. It will be January 11th. There will be a silent auction. I thought with your connections at Microsoft you might be able to get them to donate something for the silent auction like some software or ?. Mr. Gates has such a wonderful legacy of philanthropy and I’m hoping that may reach down the organization for individuals in need.

Thank you Chris for your consideration. If all you can offer is your prayers I will understand and greatly appreciate them. If you or anyone you pass this on to wish to purchase tickets, checks can be made out to TOM NEEDHAM LIVER TRANSPLANT FUND. Anyone wishing more details can contact me, Mark Needham at 952-226-1769 or e-mail me at I will be happy to fill out the tickets and return the stubs to them. The information needed is name, address & phone number for both the Big Money and Quilt raffles. The Minnesota lawful gambling exempt permit # is X-34753-04-001.

While I don’t know my uncle’s brother (his part of the family never really mixed with mine for some reason), because it’s important to my uncle, I’ll be purchasing one of each of the two kinds of raffle tickets, publicizing my uncle’s plea on my web site, investigating Microsoft’s matching for charity and, of course, sending my prayers. If any of you is interested in participating in the raffles, let Mark know directly. If you wanted to publicize this on your own web sites or donate something for the silent auction, let Mark know about that, too. Of course, all prayers are warming accepted.

Thank you very much and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.