An Emotional Raffle For Ian

Mаnу thanks аnd gratitude tо “Imрасt a Lіfе” ѕсhоlаrѕhір wrіtеr Lauren Lovato fоr tаkіng оn thе fоllоwіng еѕѕау tоріс ѕо сrеаtіvеlу:
Chrоnісlе a ѕuссеѕѕful rаfflе fundrаіѕіng campaign уоu or a fаmіlу member has bееn a раrt оf. Whаt rеѕultѕ were асhіеvеd? How dіd іt hеlр thе organization аnd/оr thе соmmunіtу it was mеаnt tо bеnеfіt? Hоw did the еxреrіеnсе еnrісh you?

Thаnk уоu ѕо muсh Lauren fоr describing your personal experience in holding such an emotional fundraiser. Lauren attends the University of New Mexico. Good luck Lauren!

“Impact a Life” Scholarship contributor:  Lauren Lovato
Yоu саn hеlÑ€ Lauren Lovato’s pursuit оf a scholarship award bу сlісkÑ–ng the “sharing Ñ–Ñ• саrÑ–ng” buttоnÑ• bеlоw.



Ian Alexander Gassman is my first cousin, whom I think about almost every day. He was born on December 19, 2001 at the Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He passed away seven months later at the same hospital on July 23, 2002. Ian spent all but nine days of his short life in the Presbyterian Hospital. He was born seven weeks premature to my aunt and uncle, Barbara and Robert Gassman. Ian was born with a rare condition called gastroschisis, which ultimately resulted in End-Stage-Liver-Disease. He was awaiting a life-saving liver and small bowel transplant at the time of his death. Ian put up a courageous fight for seven wonderful months and he was a great joy to his family and his life touched the lives and hearts’ of many people inside and outside of his small community of Los Lunas, New Mexico.

My aunt and uncle learned almost immediately that Ian’s transplant would cost anywhere between $500,000 to $1 million, which would include the cost of a double transplant, anti-rejection drugs, air ambulance to and from the Lied Transplant Center at the University of Nebraska Hospital in Omaha, and post-transplant care. They were told that their medical insurance would only cover around $500,000 for the transplant. They along with my grandparents, parents, other family members, and many other volunteers set out to raise the expected shortfall of $500,000. A daunting task for sure.

The Gassman and Lovato families immediately went into action to raise the needed funds for Ian’s transplant. They first started small with bake sales and car washes, but then attempted a Community Fundraiser at the local Elks Lodge in Belen, New Mexico which was very successful. Simultaneously they had a raffle which they called the Ian A. Gassman Medical Fund Raffle (see the attached unsold ticket below). Ultimately, in only a few months, we were able to raise over $35,000, mostly from the raffle. Unfortunately, Ian took a turn for the worst and on July 23, 2002 he succumbed to his liver disease.

The funds raised from the various fund raisers, including the very successful raffle, were used to pay for Ian’s funeral expenses, to pay off the expenses incurred while he was at the Lied Transplant Center at the University of Nebraska Hospital during his initial assessment, and to purchase several rocking chairs donated to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, where they treated Ian and our family with unbelievable love, compassion and understanding.

I was very young at the time, but I still remember the unity in the Gassman and Lovato families, along with that of the whole community, including the television, radio and print media. “A beautiful soul that touched so many” is carved onto Ian’s headstone and it could not be more appropriate. To this day, I find it gratifying, but somewhat unbelievable how a child who only lived for seven months could leave such a mark on so many lives in his little community of Los Lunas, New Mexico. The love and generosity of everyone involved in trying to save his life is beyond description.


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