Everett "Jim" Schlegel of Elgin, Illinois, will be attending Game 3 of the World Series on Oct. 28 featuring his beloved Chicago Cubs, which he watched play in their last World Series appearance, 71 years ago.
Jim's granddaughter, Helen Schlegel, set up a GoFundMe page on Oct. 23 that stated:
My Grandpa is 97 years old. He served in Pearl Harbor and is the BIGGEST Cubs fan I know. He had the opportunity to go see the Cubs in 1945 World Series Game 7 and still has the original ticket stubs. He has been waiting since that heartbreaking day, to see the Cubs in World Series. Please help my Grandpa witness the Cubs in the World Series again.
The crowdfunding effort to raise $10,000 brought in $12,846 in three days.
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Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, was so impressed with Jim's story that he donated two front-row World Series tickets for Jim and his son, Bill.
Helen noted on the GoFundMe page on Oct. 25: "We will be donating all the proceeds to the Purple Heart Foundation! Thanks everyone for your support and generosity! You made this happen!"
Jim was asked by the Elgin Courier-News how he felt about going to the big game, and replied: "I don't know yet. I haven't been there. I'm excited, but right now I think I need a nap."
Before drifting off to sleep, Jim recalled that he served in the U.S. military from 1941 to 1945, and returned to Chicago in October 1945. He went to Wrigley Field, and hoped he could see a World Series game.
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Jim told the newspaper that a box office clerk gave him tickets for Games 6 and 7.
Those tickets cost $1.20 each, but the starting price for a ticket for the Oct. 28 World Series game is more than $2,000, reports TicketIQ.
After Helen's GoFundMe campaign took off on social media. Lemonis contacted her on Twitter with the free tickets.
"It was the right thing to do," Lemonis stated in a Twitter message.
Helen later tweeted a video of Jim thanking Lemonis and all the donors, and wrote on her GoFundMe page:
The Purple Heart Foundation celebrates our heroes by helping them access benefits and help they need and are more than worthy of. It would mean a lot to my Grandpa and I for us to band together to make this campaign a success for more veterans in his honor.
That said, we'll continue accepting donations - if you aren't able to donate, please share the campaign link with your Facebook friends and email contacts.