Terry Iker just wanted to contribute to White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy's fight against cancer. Imagine his surprise when the $50 he donated produced a raffle prize beyond the dreams of most fans.
The Arlington Heights man won "A Day with Jake Peavy" that includes four tickets to all three games next week when the Sox host the Chicago Cubs. There's also a lunch with Peavy and a visit to the field to hobnob with other team members during batting practice.
Iker, himself a survivor of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, also scored prizes that money can buy such as hotel rooms, an autographed jersey, and $500 for expenses and souvenirs.
The Peavy Foundation even offered to send a limousine to his home in downtown Arlington Heights, which is tempting when you imagine game day traffic around U.S. Cellular Field, but Iker thinks that really isn't his style.
The foundation has a website under construction at jakepeavy44.com/.
"I was reading an article about Peavy and found it very compelling," Iker said. "His compassion ... I was quite moved by that, the Jake Peavy the general public doesn't see. I went on the site to donate. I wasn't even aware of the extent of the prizes.
"When Kathy (Jacobson) who works for Peavy told me what the prize entails, I was elated."
The three-week raffle, with a minimum buy-in of $10, raised more than $52,000 that will go for pancreatic cancer research, Jacobson said.
While the Cy Young winner has been generous throughout his career, especially with charities involving children or wounded military personnel, the raffle was the foundation's first fundraising event, she said, and in the future other causes will benefit.
One person bought $5,000 worth of tickets and donated them to a children's hospital.
The website that managed the raffle for the foundation says the event is in honor of Darrel Akerfelds, the San Diego Padres bullpen coach who Peavy got close to when he was a Padre.
This devotion to a friend impressed Iker, who had a friend who died of pancreatic cancer.
"Pancreatic cancer research could use a large infusion of cash, it's deadly," he said.
Iker, who works in quality assurance for Ropak Packaging in Elk Grove Village, is from Canada, and the bad news is hockey is really his sport. But he does go to about three Sox games a year and has Peavy on his fantasy team.
Why does he cheer for the Sox over their crosstown rivals?
"Generally I prefer the underdogs, and the Sox could use a few more fans. I also prefer Cellular Field (honest). It's newer and more comfortable. The seats have more space."
Iver didn't know who among his friends would score tickets, but yes, wife Lynn gets at least one, even though their dog doesn't like being left home alone.
"I'm looking forward to the personal side of the experience," he said, "meeting Jake and talking about his involvement with the foundation."