Success Stories By Dick Kazan - Valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable
lessons on how to succeed in business and in life.
The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on March 20, 2007

What would you do if you suddenly won a million dollars?

Would you go on a spending spree? Would you quit your job and make a new life for yourself?

Or would you take the winning certificate, put it in an envelope with no cover letter or explanation and send it anonymously to a charity?

In a profound act of kindness, and in a remarkable act of faith, that is exactly what someone did. In 1995, the world famous St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a Memphis [TN] based cancer research and treatment center received an envelope.

In that envelope, postmarked from Dallas, with no return address was a “McDonald’s Monopoly” game board, with a peel-off piece attached to it, which read, “Instant winner: $1,000,000.”

But in a busy mail room, the envelope and its tiny enclosure could easily have been discarded. Fortunately, the woman who opened the envelope became curious and checked into it.

Game pieces were distributed from McDonald’s restaurants nationwide and were also available through newspaper inserts. Only three winning $1,000,000 game pieces had been created and the odds of getting one were more than 200 million to 1.

Despite those incredible odds, St. Jude discovered that they and their young cancer patients had just received a million dollar winning game piece.

McDonald’s had no obligation to honor the winning game piece because its game rules forbid its transfer. But they proudly waived the rule and honored the donation, making the first of 20 annual payments of $50,000.

Most of the thousands of donations St. Jude receives each year are for $50 or less and they are greatly appreciated. The hospital is a global leader in treating catastrophic childhood diseases and treats children regardless of their ability to pay, even absorbing their family living expenses while they stay in Memphis.

St. Jude now has a 90% survival rate for children “with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer.” In 1962, when entertainer Danny Thomas started St. Jude, “that survival rate was less than 4%,” which meant that parents had little hope to offer and their child would soon die a horrible death.

This million dollar donor has never been identified but what he or she did is very special and paid for research and medical care that saves the lives of tiny tots in desperate need. And it was done through a remarkable act of faith.

Success Tip of the Week: Perhaps you too could make an anonymous charitable donation to help others in need. Like the million dollar donor, no-one else will know it was you but you’ll know your kind act made a worthwhile difference in the lives of others.

In the next KazanToday: The story of an African-American couple of modest means who made a big difference in their inner-city community.

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Many of these short, inspirational success stories are about people from all walks of life who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve remarkable results. These stories contain practical advice and a recipe for success for each of these renowned individuals. Some of their stories may help you to avoid some of the costly and time consuming mistakes that many of us make in life and at work. Learn from some of history's greatest winners on how to become a winner yourself, no matter what the obstacle, and no matter how daunting the task before you may seem. Good luck!